by Jack Kintner
Blaine remains undefeated, places fourth
Blaine wrestlers got revenge against Mt. Baker for the 48-18 drubbing they took last year by thumping the Mounties this time around 50-22 last Thursday, taking 10 of the 14 matches.
Mt. Baker started fast with quick pins in the first two matches as Zack Lepper pinned Nick Barnes (103 pounds) and A.J. Howard pinned Kelton Nix.
But then two-time state medalist Jacob Humphrey (119) led a charge that put a stop to all that with a 1:43 pin of James Calhoun, followed by DJ Duncan’s (125) and 20-3 victory over Bruce Postelwait and Kyler Mackowiack’s (130) narrow 7-4 win over Tom Williamson.
Mountie Dawson Patrick (135), last year’s third place winner at state, beat Blaine’s Jamal Mallak 15-6 but not without a vigorous effort by the Blaine underclassman that got the crowd going in his third period when he outscored Patrick 6-2.
Again Blaine put together a three-match victory string. Of note was the victory that the rapidly improving Tyson Foster (140) finally got over Eli Jacoby after losing to him six times over the season going back to last year. That was followed by A.J. Pieczynski (145) pinning Eric Ambrose in 3:45 and Jesse Kilthaui (152) defeating Be LaVergne 5-1.
Matt Cronk (160) pinned Blaine sophomore Shaffer Hicks in 5 minutes to narrow Blaine’s lead to four points, 26-22, but Blaine swept the remaining matches for the decisive win. Jeremy Holdass (171) pinned Aaron Leavitt in 1:209, Darrell Price, Jr.(189), pinned Vadim Tikhonov in 31 seconds, team Captain Shane Hicks(215) knocked off Kendall Cain in 45 seconds and Cody Dobbs (285) pinned Dylan Reiter in 2:33.
Blaine’s next dual meet is their last at home this season when they host the Anacortes Seahawks Thursday January 17 at 7 p.m.
Blaine finished a close second out of the ten teams at Sehome’s Joe Beam Invitational last weekend as Jacob Humphrey (119), Tyson Foster (140), Jesse Kilthau (145) and Darrell Price, Jr. (189) all won. Humphrey, who at 24-2 has only lost to reigning state champions, was voted most outstanding in the lighter (103-140) weights. He pinned Mt. Vernon’s Levi Kotje in a minute and a half.
The meet’s best moment came when Coach Craig Foster’s son Tyson beat Ferndale’s Byer Barmore with a crushing and decisive 72 second pin. Foster has gone from his early days as being little more trouble to his opponents than a wet washcloth to a tough and determined competitor in one of the tougher classes. He’s certain to place at state this year, and the credit goes to Blaine’s coach, who knows when to coach and when to be a dad.
Blaine boys drop three, two of them on their foot
Borderite basketball has had a couple of rough starts after a narrow 33-30 defensive loss on the road against Nooksack last Wednesday.
Two days later they got annihilated (83 to 40) by visiting 10-1 Squalicum and last Tuesday they were drubbed 61 to 27 by Mount Vernon, 11-1 on the season as compared to Blaine 3-9 record. The 7-3 Nooksack Pioneers roll on toward another good season under new head coach Tyler Mitchell.
Blaine senior Connor Oldham was MIA against the Pioneers, waylaid by a flu bug. He’s Blaine’s top scorer at 15.1 point per game and was missed.
Blaine kept this one close by outscoring the Pioneers in two of the four quarters, trailing by six at the end of the first quarter, two at the half and by five, 24-19, at the end of three.
They were able to cut Nooksack’s lead by two points in the fourth but were not helped by 25 percent free throw shooting.
Blaine junior Odie Johannesson was Blaine’s high scorer with just 9 points, including the only trey of the evening. Blaine only attempted 31 shots the whole evening, but junior guard Jason Green was a bright spot in the narrow loss with his 100 percent (4 for 4) shooting from the field.
Blaine was called for 14 fouls to Nooksack’s 9, something that is a definite factor but not, in the end, a decisive one despite the close defensive struggle this one was.
Johannessen again scored nine points two days later to lead Blaine as they got crushed by once beaten Squalicum as Keith and Nick Stackhouse combined for 36 points.
The storm came out fast and never looked back from an 18-8 first quarter lead and a 42-15 point lead at the half. Blaine’s Justin Kirkwood potted two of Blaine’s four treys, but Blaine also came away with most of the fouls called against them, 20 whistles to just 9 for the Storm.
Mount Vernon came to town Tuesday night and also had their way with the Borderites as 6’3” senior Mike Caswell hit five of Mt. Vernon’s nine three-pointers and ended up scoring 22 points. Blaine’s cold 30 percent shooting from the floor did them in, although they did out rebound Mt. Vernon 23-22 as Freddy Johncox snared six to lead Blaine.
Blaine goes to Meridian Thursday night January 17 and then returns home on Tuesday, January 22, to face Sedro Woolley, which unlike the last two games will be one that Blaine should win.
Slivers from the bench...
Turnovers and a five-point difference in the second quarter let a narrow one get away from the Lady B’s last Saturday as they dropped a road game at Squalicum 44-40, despite Kellee Harbst’s 19 points and Kristen Elsbree’s two treys. Squalicum’s Taylor Ulrich sank four treys on her own to lead the Storm in scoring. Harbst and Storm center Nicola Follis each had 12 rebounds but Blaine led over-all 33-31 in grabbing the rock of the glass.
The Lady B’s host the Meridian Trojans on Friday January 18 at 7:30 p.m. for their next home appearance.
Cain finds football future
Blaine’s Tygr Cain was named to the provincial all star team and was selected as league defensive player of the year for his performance at safety and cornerback for the North Delta Longhorns, this year’s BC Provincial Champs for teams made up of 16 to 18 year old players. Cain has been invited to play in the league’s all-star game next April. He also played for league champion Whatcom Raiders semi-pro team last year and was named a third team All-American for his play as a defensive back and on special teams. Both teams are coached by Blaine residents Fuzz Perrin (offense) and Mac McCarty (defense).
North Fork Fishery open again
The state department of Fish and Wildlife (DFW) announced that the emergency closure of a short stretch of the North Fork of the Nooksack from Mosquito Lake Road upstream to the Kendall Creek Hatchery has been lifted, and that game fishing including steelhead fishing is open again. The hatchery spawns a little over 150 fish to get a couple of hundred thousand eggs each year to plant 150,000 smolts in the Nooksack, another 40,000 in the Samish River and 5,000 in Whatcom Creek.
For the week of January 17
1-12 Squalicum 44, Blaine 40
1-9 Nooksack 33, Blaine 30
1-11 Squalicum 83, Blaine 40
1-15 Mount Vernon 61, Blaine 27
1-13 Joe Beam Invitational:
Squalicum 295, Blaine 272, Mount Vernon 249.5, Ferndale 236, South Whidbey 160, Bellevue 139, Murphy 121, Sehome 105, Meridian 39, La Conner 28