by Jack Kintner
The Defoliators take court
The Lady B’s are back from last year’s tough season, only they’re not acting like ladies any more. In fact, the way they so totally defoliated the Lakewood Cougars to take their home opener 50-28 last Tuesday night, they’re more like Agent Orange.
Coach Rob Adams’s assigned floor general Alyssa Hendrickson personally chopped up the Cougar defense for a game-high 14 points, half of which she got in a hot first quarter in which the Lady B’s had Lakewood shut out until the last 30 seconds.
“They played tonight the way they’re supposed to, to their strength,” said Adams, “big, fast, strong and physical.” Though it wasn’t perfect and there were some early season mistakes, “They’ll be fine. Remember that some of these girls were still playing at the middle school level earlier this year,” Adams said, “so for them to be so effective against seniors, some of whom will go on to play after high school, is impressive.”
Hendrickson has certainly earned her leadership role. Last year the hustling 5 foot 5 sophomore worked valiantly on a team that plummeted from a fifth-place finish at state the year before to a season without a single league win. Say what you will about character, a record like that for kids who work just as hard, win or lose, leads to futility and frustration. That Adams and the returning players have managed to pull a team out of last year’s wreckage at all is to their credit, and whaddaya know, this team’s pretty good.
difference this year, if this first game means anything,
is that Hendrickson’s got
a real team to lead, girls who have begun molding
themselves into a cohesive and focused unit, weight
lifting and training all summer, becoming a lean, mean
and hungry pack of scrappers.
They beat Lakewood especially well in the defensive trenches. This has not always been Blaine’s strong suit, but in the first and third quarters combined Blaine outscored the hapless Cougars 24-6. Many of Lakewood’s missed shots were air balls way wide of the mark when shooters heard steps. And, when doubling an opponent’s rebounding total is considered to be evidence of a one-sided shellacking, Blaine came within two of tripling Lakewood’s rebounding total, thanks in part to a fabulous senior post that Adams pried loose from Connie Pilon’s JV team, Kristen Freeman. More on her later.
Several new players have joined the team this year drawn by Adams’ more free-wheeling, run, gun and fun offense. Typical is senior Azia Lawson, who showed up just a couple of days before the game and told Adams she wanted to be on a team that was going to be playing winter sports that had fun doing it.
That put-her-in-and-take-no-prisoners approach to playing post denied Lakewood much in the way of offensive rebounds most of the night.
Lawson, who will scare opponents just like Kimberly Harmening’s black knee socks used to, seemed to be having just as much fun butting heads in the paint as she does behind the plate catching for the fastpitch team in the spring.
Other varsity newcomers who made an impact in this first outing were senior Kristen Freeman, junior Kailey Walter and freshmen Bailey Richardson, Kristen Elsbree and Natasha Place.
In reverse order, the 5-6 Place played post like a veteran against girls inches taller and years older. Elsbree was assigned Lakewood’s best player, 5-10 sophomore post Aly Stewart, and held her to just three points in the first half while scoring six on the evening. Richardson, like Elsbree fresh from the soccer wars, scored four points with heady play and hustling defense.
Kailey Walter, one of the best pure athletes on the team and the heart of its killer, hates-to-lose instinct, ran the offensive sets deep into the paint and scored ten points when not dishing off to Hendrickson for another shot from somewhere near downtown.
Senior Kristen Freeman made the kind of hometown varsity debut on the hardwood that most only dream about and that she richly deserves, having labored long in JV ball. The solid six footer got 12 points and 11 rebounds for a double-double in her first game. She showed a great touch in being able to force tough shots through thickets of arms while still being gentle enough to not send the ball into orbit while shooting it. That’s rare, the greatest exponent in modern times being Charles Barkley. Like him, Freeman’s strong enough to just stand there and put the rock in the net while the defense dances and flaps around her like disturbed but harmless birds.
The girls head for Granite Falls, the Siberia of Snohomish County, on Friday, and a week later join the boys team for a two-day invitational in Port Townsend.
Slivers from the bench
first you don’t succeed...
Commodore Bob Bezubiak of the International Yacht Club said that the response was strong to his invitation in last week’s sports section for racing crew members for the year’s racing calendar that begins next month, so strong that it overloaded the web site. He’s asked us to run it again and ask that if you had trouble before, please try again. The url, which ends in “ca,” not “com,” is www.internationalyachtclub.ca.
league football and volleyball selections named
Eight Blaine football players and one volleyball player were named all league after the seasons ended. Three of the football players earned two positions.
Blayne Brandenburger was named to the second team offense as a running back and to the first team defense as a linebacker. Joey Paciorek was named to the second team as a quarterback behind Meridian’s Bill Slesk and to the first team as a defensive back. Ryan Henley was named to the second team defense as both a line backer and punter.
Earning single slots were Adam Dykstra, first team wide receiver, Vince Phelps, first team offensive line, Nick Murphy, second team center, Bryan Chau and John “Spiderman” Dudley, both second team defensive line.
Kara Stull, currently a starter on the basketball team, was named second team all-league in volleyball as a middle hitter.