By Ian Ferguson
The boys basketball team looked rusty in their season opener, losing the non-conference home game 76–52 to Nooksack Valley.
Strong center Shaq Woods didn’t play in the game, which explains some of the disarray shown by the Borderites, but sloppy shooting and lackluster defense in the first half also contributed to the lopsided score.
Blaine started off slow and hesitant. Nooksack Valley won the tip and scored the first five points with two layups and a foul shot. Following a Borderite string of missed shots, forward Kier Munzanreder went hard into the key to draw a non-shooting foul allowing Marcus Potts to score a layup on the pass in for Blaine’s first points of the game.
Munzanreder went on to be the leading scorer for Blaine, with aggressive drives to the basket and on-point foul shooting. As a team, the Borderites were laser-accurate from the free-throw line, scoring on 15 out of 17 free throw attempts. Shooting beyond the three-point line was also fairly accurate: the Borderites made five of seven three-pointer attempts.
“We came out sluggish and we shot the ball poorly,” said Blaine head coach Shaun Pile. “Our shooting improved in the second half, but that’s partly because their defense softened up a bit. We got outworked, and we need to do better.”
Blaine’s defense struggled to contain Nooksack senior point guard Connor Beard, who was the high scorer and led the team in rebounds. The Pioneers were able to score on repeated turnovers and breakaways. Meanwhile, the Pioneers capitalized on an overall height advantage to block many of Blaine’s shots. Nine of the 11 players on Nooksack’s varsity team are 6 feet tall or taller, whereas six of 11 Blaine players are 6 feet or taller.
Freshman Ben Adams made his debut as point guard for Blaine. He showed good ball handling, quickness and court vision, with some heads-up passes across the court.
Adams finished with seven points in the game. Munzanreder scored 18 points for Blaine.
Aside from Munzanreder and Adams, scoring was spread evenly among eight Blaine players. The team is no doubt looking forward to getting Woods back on the court when he regains academic eligibility.
The Borderites will travel to Meridian this Thursday, December 3 for a non-conference game which begins at 7:15 p.m.