The girls basketball team sailed past Sedro-Woolley and Mount Baker to an authoritative 3-0 record Monday, putting them in a good position to take on Ferndale this Friday.
The 51-11 Blaine win against Sedro-Woolley on November 30, was a powerhouse defensive performance that held the Cubs to 11 points, with only three baskets made against the Borderites during running play.
“Defensively, it was one of the best efforts I’ve ever seen in my life,” Blaine coach Ryan Pike said. “We forced turnovers
every other time they got the ball, and every shot that went up, we came down with it.”
Sedro-Woolley was forced to take a majority of its shots from the perimeter due to a bulletproof Blaine defense. Pike said the team was able to switch from zone to man-to-man coverage seamlessly. Junior Olivia Olason and sophomore Breanna Chau led the defensive effort, and the Borderites forced an incredible 26 turnovers by the final buzzer.
The scores by quarter were: 26-0, 43-4, 49-11, 51-11. The running clock, which under Washington Interscholastic Activities Association regulations begins when a team is ahead by 40 points, began with four minutes left in the third quarter. Not surprisingly, this made the rest of the game fly by.
Junior Alexis McElwain had a breakout performance, netting five out of five field goal attempts, three out of six free throws, six rebounds and three steals. Chau and sophomore Taylor V’Dovec scored 10 points each, and Olason and sophomore Mandy Hayes put up eight points each.
At home against Mount Baker on December 3, the game started with a technical foul on Mount Baker because the coaching staff had recorded freshman Emily Brandland’s number wrong in the books. Blaine started strong with sophomores Mandy Hayes and Breanna Chau leading the way with multiple field goals and assists, including two three-pointers by Hayes and a coast-to-coast steal and basket by Chau. The score at the break was 27-12 with Blaine on top.
In the third quarter, Blaine’s passing, shooting, and play-running suffered as the Mountaineers increased their pressure, and the pace of play sped up. Mount Baker had an unanswered eight-point run while the Borderites were plagued by turnovers and missed shots. Despite this, Blaine kept an uncomfortably close lead over the Mountaineers. Near the end of the third quarter, V’Dovec broke the dry spell by sinking two free throws.
In the fourth quarter, Blaine controlled play with solid fundamentals, a slower pace and successful set plays. They resumed sinking baskets on offense, as V’Dovec stepped up with rebounds and confident shooting. Chau, Hayes and V’Dovec handled the Mount Baker full-court press without fail, steadily advancing the ball to the offensive zone. The final score was Blaine 45, Mount Baker 34.
V’Dovec was the leading scorer and rebounder for Blaine, with 15 points and 13 rebounds. Following the game, Pike said he was proud of his team’s ability to overcome the hectic third quarter.
“The pace was too fast in the third, and we were passing the ball like a hot potato,” he said. “But when we slowed it down, it all came back. We won the rebounds, we started making shots and we took our time passing the ball. All in all, we got a W [win], we’re 3-0, and we’re in good shape for Friday’s game.”
The girls face the Ferndale Lyncs at home Friday, December 7. The 3A Ferndale team beat Squalicum 69-25 on November 30.
“They’re a solid, strong team,” Pike said. “We’re going to have to look after the ball. If we keep playing like we have been, we’ll do well.”