By Ian Ferguson
High school sports teams, which bring kids in close contact with one another, are easy targets for viruses during flu season.
The Blaine boys basketball team was hit hard last week, and athletes tried to battle through illness during an away game at Meridian February 3. The Borderites lost the Northwest Conference matchup 71–51.
“We were at just about half strength,” said Blaine coach Shaun Pile. Two players were out with the flu, two were recovering and one was out because of an academic suspension. The Borderites played without their starting guards, and a strategy of mixing up the defense was only partially effective.
The Borderites had a strong first half on offense, scoring 30 points to Meridian’s 38.
“It was one of our highest scoring halves all year,” Pile said. “We did a great job of breaking their press, finding the open man and getting the shot off.”
In the second half, the Trojans stepped up their intensity and Blaine struggled to break the full-court press.
“They had a good man-to-man full-court press throughout the game, and with some of our players not feeling their best it really wore us down,” Pile said.
On the other side of the court, solid perimeter shooting allowed the Trojans to increase their lead.
“We ran everything at them on defense. Man-to-man, zone, half-court press and trap, really trying to switch it up and catch them off guard,” Pile said. “They had a lot of guys making shots from the perimeter, and that really made the difference and allowed them to pull away in the second half.”
Ben Hodgin led the Borderites with 12 points. Shaq Woods had 10 points, Anthony Ball had nine and Jon Fakkema had seven. With the loss, Blaine falls to 3–8 in NWC games, putting them in seventh place in 2A and out of contention for the post-season. Meridian’s 4–7 record, meanwhile, puts them at second place in NWC 1A.
The Borderites will play their senior game at home against Nooksack Valley on Thursday, February 5.
“We’re both out of the playoff race, so it’s really a matter of pride,” Pile said. “It’s our senior night at home, so we want to go out of the season on top.”
The NWC game begins at