By Ian Ferguson
The Borderites jumped out to an early lead in a home game against Sedro-Woolley, keeping up the pressure on their way to a comfortable win.
Blaine won the January 8 Northwest Conference (NWC) matchup 65–43.
“We played great defense and we found easy shots on offense,” said Blaine head coach Ryan Pike. “We were coming off of a win against Mount Baker, which helped us come out strong.”
A succession of five three-pointers in the first quarter helped Blaine build a 19–8 lead. Sedro-Woolley seemed to recover in the second quarter, scoring nine points to Blaine’s 10, but then Blaine poured on the offensive pressure in the third quarter, scoring 20 points and building a 21-point lead.
Pike said the Borderites used the significant lead as an opportunity to run a variety of defenses.
“We played some man-to-man, ran a half-court zone and pressed a bit. Overall our defense was solid,” Pike said.
Sharpshooter Mandy Hayes led the Borderites with five three-pointers and 21 points overall. Josie Deming scored 14 points.
The win over Sedro-Woolley gave the Borderites a 3–1 NWC record.
“That’s pretty big. Every game matters and we just want to be in the top four in 2A when it comes time for the postseason,” Pike said.
Blaine next had a tough challenge on the road against the Lynden Lions, who remain undefeated in league play and lead the NWC in 2A. Blaine lost the January 12 NWC game 44–33.
Similar to the Sedro-Woolley game, the Borderites came out strong in the first quarter, and used a 3-2 zone defense to good effect. The teams were evenly matched throughout the first half.
“We came out and played really hard, and we played really well defensively,” Pike said. “It was 21–20 at the half, and they’re a really good team.”
Pike said his team’s ability to find easy shots and sink baskets was a little surprising given Lynden’s reputation.
“I expected them to make it tougher on us to score,” Pike said. “I think we did a good job moving the ball around to find the open player in the first half, and our shooting was on target.”
Lynden broke away with a 16-point third quarter, allowing only nine points in exchange. In the fourth quarter both teams locked in on defense and Blaine continued to fall behind.
Hayes led the Borderites in scoring with nine points, but the offense was well spread. Josie Deming scored eight points, Mikayla Deming scored seven and Breanna Chau scored six.
Last year’s league MVP Taylor V’Dovec is still out with a broken toe. Pike said doctors have cleared her to practice, and she should be ready to compete next week as long as she continues to recover.
Blaine’s 3–2 record in conference puts them at third place in 2A NWC, a position Pike hopes to maintain.
“We’ll have a tough test against Anacortes on Saturday. After that, Taylor [V’Dovec] should be back and hopefully she’s healthy enough to help us win some more games. We just need to keep up the strong play we’ve been showing,” Pike said.
Anacortes, with a 2–3 NWC record, is known for playing an aggressive zone defense.
“We need to move the ball quickly, pass well and hit shots,” Pike said.
The game against Anacortes is at home on Thursday, January 15. The NWC game begins at 7:15 p.m.