by Jack Kintner
Boys fight for district spot
Perhaps it was the incessant screaming from the Nooksack bench, but something motivated a surprising 13-2 third quarter run by a Nooksack team Blaine has beaten before, and they ended up putting away Blaine 69-53 last Friday night at home.
Only five Borderites scored points, Mike Pianki’s 19 leading the list. His fast break lay-up at the first half buzzer to tie the game at 25 brought the homecrowd town to its feet. “Now that’s Blaine basketball!” said one excited fan.
But over the break the momentum went to the Pioneers, specifically Dan Skilman and Brett Handy, who dumped in four treys between them in short order. “We were with them until then,” said head coach Dan Rucker, “a lot like when we played them there and won, but those four treys killed us, and after that it was catch-up ball.”
The Blaine team earned more attention from the refs as well, Ryan Goodwin fouled out midway through the fourth quarter on a mysterious call that seemed to have little to do with what was happening on the court, as if the ref was thinking about calling the Super Bowl the following weekend. The loss of the 6-5 senior Blaine cost two-thirds of its inside offensive punch.
Blaine ended up with 25 fouls called to Nooksack’s 19, although Blaine managed to equal Nooksack’s harvest of 15 charity points despite the difference with superior shooting from the line.
With the loss Blaine’s record sinks to 4-5 in league, but the Borderites remain in third place. Their next opponent will be Meridian on Friday, February 10, a possibly tough road game against a team that they beat by four at home but lost to by ten on the road earlier in the season. Winning means securing third place prior to district play. The game begins at 7:30 p.m.
Bacteria shuts down
An outbreak of shigellosis, a food-borne bacteria that can cause severe diarrhea, forced postponement of last weekend’s district wrestling meet after at least 14 wrestlers, several coaches and some referees became sick following the previous weekend’s sub districts at Nooksack.
The district wrestling tournament was transferred to Wednesday, February 8. Results will be in next week’s paper.
“It can fool you because at first it looks like the flu,” said Blaine’s athletic director Gary Clausen, “but it’s pretty severe once it gets going.” He said that the outbreak will cause some changes in the way that Blaine keeps its own mats clean, although the infection had nothing to do with Blaine’s facilities.
The bacteria is spread through bodily contact and by touching something an infected person has touched, making a wrestling meet an almost ideal location for the bug to grow. Clausen said that Blaine already takes precautions by cleaning its mats and asking athletes to wash their hands.
Dan Steelquist, coach of the girls’ soccer team, successfully applied to also coach the boys team, something he did for several years five years ago. Now he’ll coach the girls in their fall season and the boys in their spring season.
In football, the head coaching position is now officially open though the school district has already been receiving inquiries from as far away as North Carolina.