The Blaine girls’ basketball team turned in a solid first-half effort against undefeated Burlington-Edison, but couldn’t overcome the Tigers’ aggressive defense in the second half, losing 40–35 at home on Tuesday, December 13.
Despite leading the entire first half, Blaine’s offense eventually fell apart at the hands of the Tigers’ full-court trap, allowing ten third-quarter turnovers and turning the Borderites’ 22-18 halftime lead into a 29-25 deficit entering the fourth period.
“We got a little tired, which started forcing some turnovers,” Blaine head coach Jeremy Hinchey said. “We made some passes we shouldn’t have made, and that’s pretty much what cost us in the end.”
The Borderites eventually switched to a full-court press to combat the shifting momentum, but the Tigers outscored Blaine 11-3 in the third quarter and never looked back.
“[Burlington-Edison] plays really good defense. They are one of the top teams in the conference,” Hinchey said. “They are quicker than us, so we couldn’t really play a whole game of pressure defense. We were hoping to catch them off guard.”
Blaine trailed by just one basket with five minutes to play in the fourth, but a layup by Burlington-Edison’s Ryleigh Swagerty and a huge three from Katlyn Mataya distanced the Tigers at 38-33 with less than two minutes remaining.
With 43 seconds left, Burlington-Edison’s defense seemed to only tighten, forcing Blaine to squander a key inbounds play that may have been their last chance at victory. In total, the Borderites allowed 25 turnovers to the Tigers’ 14.
“[Burlington-Edison] have got more experience,” Hinchey said. “We have a younger team, and I think this will be good for us because we can learn from them.”
Mariah Swanson turned in Burlington-Edison’s best all-around performance, scoring 10 points and leading her team with 11 rebounds. Mataya scored a game-high 11 points, and Ellary Torset added nine.
Breanna Chau and Alexis McElwain led the Borderites in scoring with seven points each. Freshman Taylor V’Dovec led Blaine’s defensive end, grabbing 14 boards to go with her six points. Senior Stefawn Perrin also dished out a game-high three assists.
“Our girls work really hard,” Hinchey said. “It was really helping them out there. I thought they did a good job in the first half.”
Tuesday’s non-conference loss sets Blaine at 4-2 overall. Burlington-Edison remains undefeated at 5-0 alongside Ferndale.
Blaine next hosts Mount Baker High School – a team whose only loss was by one point to undefeated Ferndale – at 7 p.m. on Thursday, December 15, at the Blaine High School gym.