By Oliver Lazenby
Blaine girls’ basketball head coach Ryan Pike knows what his team needs to do to win games this season: handle the basketball well.
The team is coming off a rough year in which they earned a 3–17 record. Much of the team’s undoing came down to making turnovers, Pike said. Fix that, and the Borderites can be competitive.
“I think a lot of our problems have to do with taking care of the basketball,” Pike said. “Last year when we took care of the basketball we got good looks on offense, and when we weren’t giving away fast breaks we played great defense.”
In the dozen practices before its first game on November 29, Pike is emphasizing taking care of the ball through passing and ball handling drills.
Turnovers aside from the turnovers, Pike thinks last year’s team played better than its record shows.
“We played good solid defense,” he said. “We lost some games by 4, 5, 6 points. So if we took away three turnovers, now we’re winning those games.”
Last year’s team was young, with just two seniors – Makayah Veliz and Kjirstin Larson – and two juniors. Same story this year.
Returning seniors are Jessica Phillips and Lauren Kordas, and returning juniors are Alexis Hallberg and Josie Deming.
But the Borderites bring a bit more experience to the court this year with three sophomores who got a lot of varsity playing time last year, including Brynn Hallberg and starting point guard Ashley Dickerson.
That will help with the turnovers, Pike said, as more players are used to the pace of varsity basketball.
“A lot of turnover’s last year came down to timing. When you see someone open, by the time you pass it they’re not open anymore,” Pike said. “At junior varsity level, they would have been open still.”
Pike expects 5-foot-11-inch-tall junior Josie Deming to lead the team in scoring.
“I’m hoping she can carry us,” Pike said. “Other than that, we have a group of five girls behind her who could score 10 points a game.”
The Borderites start their season with at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, November 29 against Coupeville at home.