Boys earn two wins on Olympic Peninsula

DSC_2183By Ian Ferguson

A rowdy two-day road trip to the Olympic Peninsula resulted in two wins for the Blaine High School boys basketball team.

The Borderites defeated Port Townsend 67–49 on December 11, then came from behind to beat Port Angeles 53–44 the next day. With the wins, the Borderites are 3–2 this season, and feeling confident heading into their first league games this week.

“It was a good trip all around with a lot of strong performances by many different players,” Pile said.

Blaine battled for every point in a physical game against Port Townsend. After an unsteady start, the Borderites slowly built a lead with good outside shooting and passing. The Redhawks matched the Borderites point for point through the first quarter, but by halftime Blaine had an eight-point lead.

“In the second half we came out stronger and started pulling away,” Pile said.

Shaq Woods, after missing a few games and sitting out the first half, returned to the center position for the Borderites. He scored seven points, but his ability to rebound and distribute from the post was an even bigger asset to the team, Pile said.

Carson Knutzen led the team with 16 points, and freshman Colby Knutzen made an impact in his first varsity appearance, shooting 3–4 from the three-point line and 2–3 from the free-throw line for 11 total points. Ben Adam scored eight points, and Kier Munzanreder scored seven.

As a team, the Borderites stepped up their perimeter shooting, scoring 9–19 on three0-point attempts. There were 14 team assists and nine steals.

“The guys did a great job of finding the open guy and making the extra pass,” Pile said.

The physically demanding game against Port Townsend may have taken a toll on the Borderites, as the team was sluggish at the start of a matinee game at Port Angeles the next day.

“We came out flat and it was a really sloppy start,” Pile said. “It took awhile, but once we woke up and realized how to play these guys, we really turned it around in the second half.”

The Riders jumped out to an 18–8 lead in the first quarter. Blaine picked up the defensive intensity in the second, but both teams struggled with turnovers throughout the game. By the final buzzer, Blaine had 24 turnovers and Port Angeles had 29.

It wasn’t until the fourth quarter that Blaine finally gained a lead over the Riders, thanks to well-balanced scoring from the whole team. Woods led the team with 17 points, 14 of which came in the second half. Adams scored 14, Marcus Potts and Jalen Kortlever both scored 10 and Munzanreder scored eight.

Defensively, Blaine kicked it up a notch in the second half, with the whole team contributing.

“Kortlever had a heck of a game, especially on defense with six steals,” Pile said.

Woods got 16 rebounds for a double-double, and Potts got 10 rebounds. Anthony Ball had three rebounds and two steals. The final score was 53–44 Blaine.

The Borderites will play at Burlington-Edison for their first Northwest Conference game of the season. The Tigers are 2–4.

“We beat them last year, but they’re a strong team,” Pile said. “It should be a pretty evenly matched game.”

The game begins at 7:15 p.m.

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