Blaine wrestlers continue undefeated streak
By Jack Kintner
After an early see-saw battle that saw Lynden pull within four points of the undefeated Borderites, Blaine smashed the upstart Lions like so many irritating bugs to chalk up a decisive 53-18 Northwest Conference victory to remain undefeated in one of their best seasons ever and keep their lofty perch at the top of the league standings intact.
Blaine ran off 22 straight points to begin the match that began in the middle of the weight classes with victories by seniors Jacob Humphrey (130 pounds), Tyson Foster (140), both by pin, a 14-0 major decision by D.J. Duncan (135) and a solid 6-2 win by Camden Nix (145).
But then Lynden made its move. Nathaniel Frey (152) pinned Borderite A.J. Pieczynski and Dylan Cliett (160) pinned Blaine’s Jacob Martinez.
Blaine answered with Alex Pennington’s (171) narrow one-point win over Justin Korthuis, but Niels Brisbane, a standout on Lynden’s state championship football team, pinned Shafer Hicks (189) in the third period of their match.
Then another Lynden football player, Taylor Creighton, took on Blaine’s Jeremy Holdaas (215) and had him down, 6-2, before Holdaas ran off 15 straight points and majored Creighton 17-6. Darrell Price, Jr., (285) then decisioned Lynden’s Donovan Gratton 5-1.
The competition continued with the lighter weight classes taking over the mats. Blaine took all the rest of the honors, the over-all match itself being clinched when Shaypher Hendricks (103) walked across to shake hands with opponent Zack Erickson and then pinned him like a corsage just 27 seconds later.
Blaine won at 112 with a forfeit and finished up on the Lions with pins by Nick Barnes (119) and Tony Jordan (130) for the lopsided if foregone margin of victory.
Blaine’s next match and its third of four home contests this year is on Thursday, January 15 at 7 p.m. when they’ll host Squalicum. Later, on Valentine’s Day, Blaine hosts the 2-AA regional tournament, the last qualifying match before the state tournament in the Tacoma Dome on February 20 and 21.
Blaine boys submerged by Anacortes 85-51
Anacortes poured in 33 points from three-point range last week and had four players in double figures for points scored while handing Blaine one of the bigger losses at home they’ve had in a while.
Blaine zoned the Seahawks effectively to begin with but were once again plagued by poor shooting, getting just 21 of 58 for a frustrating 36 percent from the floor. They fell behind by 8 at the quarter after a slow start for both teams, then scored just six in the second and only two in the third quarters before rallying back in a 31-20 run in the fourth to make things respectable.
Meanwhile, Anacortes was shooting a hot 67 percent with 33 out of 49 shots dropping out of sight as fast as internet stocks. Blaine could have poked all their eyes out and they would still have made most of their shots.
With five treys and four of five foul shots, Blaine’s offense was anemic, yet the team played with aggression and verve while keeping the fouls down, getting whistled just 12 times and losing no one to the zebras. It’s really hard to point at any one thing going wrong for these guys, floor general Odie Johannesson managing things capably and the wiry and elusive Trevor Chau ably threading his way through the Anacortes defense.
The rock just won’t go down the well, although that said, we all remember when the football team was struggling just a few years ago, playing hard and well but not winning, and look where they are now. Basketball, with some of the same faces, isn’t far behind. For Blaine, Trey Bakogeorge was high point man with 13, including three treys. Chau came away with 10, Johannesson with nine, Tod Bird with 8, Jordan McCarty with five, Mitch Mekovich with four and Jason Green with two.
Blaine lost on the road to a promising Meridian squad Tuesday night even though they led in most categories save one – points.
At 22 out of 48 from the field, Meridian wasn’t great but were enough to beat the Borderites, who sunk 16 out of 48 shots for 33 percent shooting from the floor.
Senior forward Mitch Mekovich led in rebounding with 8, Blaine led in treys with 6 to Meridian’s 5, in fouls with 15, two fewer than Meridian, and in turnovers with nine to Meridian’s 11. Blaine played them evenly in the second and fourth quarters but dropped nine points behind in the first and another six in the third for the 15 point difference.
Trey Bakogeorge led Blaine scorers with 10 points, Mekovich and Odie Johannessen followed with nine apiece, Trevor Chau had seven, Jordan McCarty 6 and Greg Grasher 4. Bakogeorge, Johannessen and McCarty got two treys apiece.
Blaine next plays a road game on Friday, January 16 before returning home next Wednesday, January 21, against Ferndale.
Lady B’s come up on short end 55-45
The Lady B’s opened northwest conference play last weekend in Anacortes and came away second best on the short end of a 55-45 score.
The Seahawks press had Blaine pretty well locked up as the first half ended with Blaine 15 points behind. In the second half Blaine played better against the press and outscored Anacortes 25-22, impressive but not enough to make up the deficit.
Bailey Richardson, Kristen Elsbree and Tessa Baker all had a trey apiece for the B’s, and with Elsbree getting nine boards Blaine out rebounded Anacortes 30-21.
Both teams were called for 18 infractions, but the big difference came in turnovers, and thereby hangs the tale of the game: Blaine had 33, almost three times as many as Anacortes with 13.
Elsbree also led all Blaine scorers with 14, followed by Stefawn Perrin with 8, Bailey Richardson with 7, Alex Hendricks-Hockey with 5, Tessa Baker with four, Gabriela Avena, two, Libby Moore, 2, and Payton Steinbach, 2.
The loss puts Blaine at 204 on the season thus far, 0-1 in league play. The Lady B’s next opponent was a home game against Meridian on Wednesday, January 14 after we went to press, followed by a home game with Burlington on Friday night January 16.