Blaine head basketball coach Dougal Thomas has preached strong pressuring defense, rebounding and pushing the ball up the floor to the Borderites.
Sehome was glad to provide a clinic on the subject. Trailing 17-9 in the first quarter and by a point at half, the Mariners used pressure defense and strong rebounding to run away from Blaine in the second half and take a 55-44 non-conference win Thursday, December 2, in Blaine’s home opener.
The game couldn’t have started better for the Borderites. Blaine parlayed 6 for 9 shooting, including two three-pointers by Andrew Miller and one by Dustin Dhanani, into an 8-point lead while holding the Mariners to only 3 field goals. Sehome moved back into the game, taking advantage of four consecutive misses by Blaine to start the second quarter, actually taking the lead with 42 seconds remaining in the half, but Miller raced down on a break for a lay-in, at the buzzer, to take a 25-24 lead at the break.
The second half was decisive from the start and Blaine never recovered, their offense stagnating against the Mariners' 2-3 zone defense.
Sehome opened the half with a 10-1 run that moved the Mariners out to a 34-26 lead with 4:06 in the third quarter.
“We have some work to do offensively against the zone,” Thomas said in an e-mail. “We are going to see a lot of zone this year and we will get better against it as the year progresses. It is something we are focussing on in practice."
Blaine seemed to recover by inducing a combination of four Sehome misses with four Mariner fouls.
A put-back shot and a free throw by Andrew Price along with a hoop by Todd Bird brought the Borderites back within three.
The Mariners then ran off a 17-2 run that was climaxed by fast-break scores by Colin Peterson and Tim Elliot to put Sehome comfortably in front by 18 with 4:55 left in the game.
Miller and Dhanani each scored 10 points to lead the Borderites, however, Miller's came almost exclusively in the first half where he scored 9 but was limited to a free throw in the second half. Peterson led all scorers with 20 points, 10 in the final quarter.
“I have seen improvement in practice, and we showed improvement from game 1 to game 2,” Thomas noted, “That is all we can ask for.”
Improvements seen in the Borderites' second contest were muted Saturday, December 4, as class B La Conner routed Blaine 61-35 in a road non-conference game. La Conner led from wire to wire, holding a five point advantage after a quarter and extending it throughout.
The 35-point output was a season low for Blaine as well as the margin of victory by La Conner. Andrew Price, the most consistent player for Blaine, led the Borderites with 10 points in the paint, however he was the only Blaine scorer in double figures. Luke Feenstra came off the bench to score 6.
“We are stressing to the boys how important it is to put together 32 minutes of sound defense every night,” Thomas commented. “We cannot afford to take a possession off. It is a work in progress but they believe in it and are working to get better. We are asking them to do things that have never been asked of them before.”
The loss dropped the Borderites to 0-3 on the young season.