For the Lynbrook High School Girls Varsity basketball team, 2012-2013 has definitely been a season to remember. With an impressive 21-4 record, it’s the school’s best season in more than a decade, a run that included 13 straight Central Coast Section playoff appearances since 2001.
The school is no stranger to success in girls basketball, notching a playoff win in each of the past four years. This year’s playoffs, however, are different for the Vikings.
In each of the past 12 seasons, Lynbrook competed in the Division II playoffs. This season, they were selected to California Interscholastic Federation’s new Open Division, in which the best eight teams across all five divisions are placed in one tournament to decide a single, true CCS champion.
Lynbrook was selected as the Open Division’s eighth team, the last and final seed, despite finishing the season with a 10-2 record and co-champion honors in the highly regarded De Anza Division of the Santa Clara Valley Athletic League.
Low expectations are nothing new for Lynbrook. First year head coach, Cynthia Ting, remembers, “The last two years we've had such success coming in as the underdog and taking down some of the top teams. The first year I was an assistant, we beat St. Francis, and last year, we beat Presentation (High School).”
Both teams play in the West Catholic Athletic League, an all-private school league that features eight of the past nine CCS Division II champions. The league is rightfully viewed as a powerhouse in CCS sports.
Coming into this season, projections from Prep2Prep.com, Maxpreps.com and other local high school news sites ranked them fourth in De Anza, despite returning four starters.
“I think as a team we’ve definitely strived as an underdog,” says junior center Sarah Dyslin.
In the first round of the Open Division playoffs at Santa Teresa High School, their season culminated in one of the most memorable CCS playoff upsets in recent history. Coming in as the eighth seed, the Vikings came away with a 46-44 victory over top seed Sacred Heart Cathedral, yet another WCAL team.
Senior forward Jackie Hudepohl led the Vikings with 20 points as they rallied from an eight-point fourth quarter deficit. Junior Annie Cheng added two timely three-pointers down the stretch, and Dyslin finished the game with 13 points.
After the game, Ting said of her players, “Half the team has been here. They've seen it. I think they really said ‘this is our year to prove that we can hang with the private schools.’”
Hudepohl added, “I think as a team we just played really well. We moved the ball well. My team did a great job of finding me and getting me open looks.”
After falling to St. Francis 37-27 in the semifinals at Oak Grove High School, Lynbrook defeated De Anza Co-champion Wilcox 44-42 for third place in the CCS Open Division.
The win over rival Wilcox helped Lynbrook gain the third overall seed and a first-round bye in the Northern California bracket of the CIF State Girls Division II Basketball Championships. Saturday night, they continued their season with a 47-39 win on their home court over Alameda of the North Coast Section.
They will play at home again on Tuesday at 7 p.m., against CCS Division II Champion, Presentation, whom they defeated in last season’s CCS playoffs, 42-39, and again earlier this season, 41-37.
A win on Tuesday would land Lynbrook in the Northern California championship game on Saturday at Sleep Train Arena in Sacramento.
Ryan Brown is a journalism student at San Jose State University and a Patch intern.