At 1,603 points he eclipses 2013 mark set by Isaac Reimer
LYNDEN — It was bound to happen.
Cole Bajema knew it. Coach Roger DeBoer knew it. Anyone who’s followed Lynden Christian boys basketball the past three years might have guessed it.
Bajema, the University of Michigan commit, would eventually break the Lyncs’ all-time scoring record. Still, only a few people knew the feat would likely happen during the Lyncs’ district playoff opener, which turned out to be a 77-40 win over Cedar Park Christian of Bothell on Feb. 6.
Bajema had an inkling he was getting close, but he had no exact idea how close.
“I wasn’t keeping track,” Bajema said. “I thought there was a chance I could. I wasn’t really going for it. I was just seeing how it all played out. I kind of had a feeling going into postseason that I was getting close. I wasn’t for sure, though.”
DeBoer and a few of his staff were keeping track and knew he needed five points to break the record entering the Cedar Park Christian game.
“We knew going into that night it was going to be pretty unlikely for him not to,” DeBoer said.
“There were a few of us aware of it, not a lot. He was not aware of it. He knew he was getting close, based on the beginning of the year, but he wasn’t tabulating it. It’s a great accomplishment, but that’s just not what Cole’s about.”
idway through the second quarter, Bajema waited on the baseline perimeter, received a pass from junior Bryce Bouwman, shook Cedar Park Christian’s Luke Allen with a head fake, drove three feet toward the basket, lifted for a mid-range jumper and rattled it in with 5:54 on the clock.
The shot gave Bajema 1,603 career points, lifting him past Isaac Reimer’s previous record of 1,602, set in 2013. Bajema finished the night with 17 points, including three 3-pointers.
“I could tell after I hit that mid-range jumper, one of my teammates, Andrew [DeVries], looked at me and said I broke it,” Bajema said.
The announcement to the crowd was held until the Lyncs came out of the locker room at halftime. Reimer met Bajema at center court and presented him with a basketball inscribed with the words “Cole Bajema. Lynden Christian all-time scoring leader.”
Reimer had called DeBoer a couple of weeks earlier and told him that Bajema had to be getting close to his record, and asked DeBoer to let him know which game it would happen in because he wanted to be there.
“It was really neat to be able to honor him and have Isaac Reimer there,” DeBoer said. “It was really cool.”
Bajema said it was a special moment having Reimer there to show support for him, too.
“It was cool that Isaac came out there to pass it on to me,” Bajema said. “I watched him growing up and he was a great player. I would always go to high school games when I was younger and watch him play.
Bajema said he had thought about moments such as this ever since watching the Lyncs as a kid and dreaming of playing on the team, he said.
“Growing up, it was something I wanted to try doing,” Bajema said. “It’s not an easy thing to do, but it was a cool experience to break it.”
The bulk of Bajema’s points have come in the past three years, being a three-year starter for the Lyncs from his sophomore year on. He was a swing player for JV/varsity his freshman year and only saw limited varsity minutes. In the last three years, DeBoer said, he’s watched Bajema grow into a prolific scorer.
“He’s put the sweat into the bucket,” DeBoer said. “He’s spent hours upon hours upon hours honing his craft and working on his skills. That’s what ultimately shows. You take God-given talent and apply work and effort into it, and amazing things can happen. Cole’s a living example of that.