The boys basketball team lost to a talented Lynden Christian squad in their Northwest Conference season opener, but recovered with an easy win over Nooksack Valley. The first five contests of the Borderites’ season will not affect playoff standings, as only the last two games were conference match-ups.
In an away game against Lynden Christian (LC) on December 14, the Borderites came out strong with freshman Josiah Westbrook scoring nine of the team’s first 13 points, and Blaine hanging within three points of Lynden Christian to make the score 16-13 in the first few minutes of the second quarter. But then, according to head coach Ryan Pile, “they turned up the heat a little bit, and we couldn’t handle it.”
LC initiated a hard-to-break full court press on defense, and a number of Blaine turnovers led to a series of fast-break layups for LC. By halftime, Blaine was deep in a hole, trailing 39-13. Westbrook and senior Jericho Probadora contributed 10 points each in the game. The final score of Blaine’s Northwest Conference season opener was 71-29, Lynden Christian.
LC’s star center Isaac Reimer, who was the league player of the year last season and is 6'8" tall, was held to five points in the game.
“They’re a very talented group, and they play well together,” Pile said of Lynden Christian.“
Away at Nooksack Valley on December 17, Blaine defeated the winless Nooksack Valley squad with a team-wide effort. Every varsity player contributed points to the final score of 61-41. Two junior-varsity players played in the game as well.
Senior Gabe Trump scored 16 points, freshman Josiah Westbrook scored 12 and senior Ivan Sanchez scored 10 in the team’s first conference win.
“The game went well, and we’ll take the win, but we could have played a little better,” Pile said. “We gave up some garbage points with simple mistakes, but it was good to see the whole team contribute, and we’re happy to be 1-1 in conference play.”
The Borderites face Anacortes at home Friday, December 21 at 7:15 p.m. Friday’s game will be only the second home game in eight for the boys. Their road-warrior schedule evens out looking ahead, as the Borderites host the Blaine Holiday Invite on December 28 and 29, and play six of the remaining 10 scheduled games at home.
Pile said the four days without practice for Christmas break, and the Blaine Holiday invite soon after, will be a good change of pace that the team is looking forward to.