Despite posting a loss against Bellingham, Blaine boys basketball head coach Shaun Pile said it was the team’s most complete game so far. The Borderites lost 70-51 in the Northwest Conference matchup January 3, but the final score did not reflect the high-energy performance from Blaine that lasted all four quarters.
“We finally came out strong,” he said. Getting his team to play with high energy from the start of the game has been an issue this season, and Pile said he was encouraged by the boys’ improvement.
Blaine held Bellingham to a close first quarter, matching the pace of the swift home team and maintaining solid, adaptive man-to-man defense. But more of Bellingham’s baskets went in, and 14 Blaine turnovers in the first half led to a halftime score of 36-24.
“They’re athletic, and run very well,” Pile said of the 8-5 Red Raider squad. “So they got a lot of turnovers that they capitalized on. But our guys did a better job of sticking with it. No one hung their heads at any point in the game.”
Six foot-four senior Zach Rector had a breakout game for Blaine, scoring on seven of 13 field goal attempts and six of seven free throws for 21 points in the game, and hauling in seven rebounds.
“He played like he can,” Pile said, “and did a great job of attacking the rim.”
Senior Jericho Probadora netted two three-pointers and scored four of seven field goal attempts to contribute 10 points to the final score. He also had three assists.
“Normally we have good defense and poor offense,” Pile said, “but tonight was the opposite. We’ll need to shore up our man-to-man [defense] against Ferndale, and if we do that, I think it’s a game that we can go and get, especially if we avoid going into a 14-point hole like we did last time.”
The Borderites played Ferndale Tuesday, January 8 in Ferndale. They lost the match 58-51, but had a strong second half led by freshman Josiah Westbrook, who scored 19 points in the game. Senior Gabe Trump scored 14, and Rector scored 11.