By Ian Ferguson
After a narrow loss to Lynden in the first round of the district tournament, the Blaine girls basketball team bounced back against Anacortes, and their next game will decide whether the Borderites end their season or move on to the state tournament.
The Borderites kicked off the district tournament with an exciting game against Lynden February 14. Although it didn’t end in Blaine’s favor, the game went into overtime after the Borderites dug their way out of a 9-point hole, led by the efforts of point guard Breanna Chau.
With two leading scorers, Taylor V’Dovec and Mandy Hayes, locked down by the Lynden defense, Chau stepped up to score 20 points and hand out eight assists.
Most of Chau’s production came in the fourth quarter, when she scored 13 points of Blaine’s 23 points, made two assists and scored on a layup with three seconds left to tie the game.
In overtime, Lynden couldn’t miss while the Borderites struggled with turnovers and rimmed shots. The final score was 58-50.
“We were fighting from behind for most of the game, and in overtime they got some breaks that we didn’t, but that’s how the game goes. Lynden is a strong, well-coached team, and they outplayed us,” Blaine head coach Ryan Pike said. “Chau had a great game.”
Moving on to an elimination-round game against Anacortes February 17, the Borderites knew they had to win, and they played like it.
“We got off to a hot start in the first quarter, and a lot of our success came because we boxed out and rebounded really well,” Pike said.
Strong rebounding, numerous steals and overall solid defense allowed the Borderites to shut out Anacortes in the first quarter and gain a 13-0 lead. The Seahawks ended their dry spell, but never came closer than nine points to gaining the lead.
Hayes led the Borderites with 15 points. V’Dovec had 11 points and eight rebounds, and Kjirstin Larson had eight points. Pike said Anacortes’ sag zone defense made it tough for the Borderites to get into a groove on offense.
“A lot of our passes didn’t lead to good scoring opportunities, but we did a good job sharing the ball,” Pike said. “It was a really strong defensive effort from the whole team that gave us the win.”
With the win, the Borderites move onto a pivotal game against Shorecrest from the Wesco Conference. The winner will play a seeding game for the regional round of the state tournament, and the loser will go home.
Pike has been watching film of the Shorecrest Scots, who are 6-12 in the Wesco Conference and 11-22 overall.
“They’re athletic, and they like to run the court,” Pike said. “They’re going to be a tough match for us. We’re going to have to play really well to beat them.”
The game against Shorecrest is on Thursday, February 19 at Mount Vernon High School. The game begins at 6 p.m.