The Borderites battened down their defense to defeat Squalicum 47-25 in a Northwest Conference (NWC) matchup January 10. Sophomores Mandy Hayes and Breanna Chau led the offensive effort with 13 points each, but coach Ryan Pike attributed the victory to a strong defensive effort that deflected any offensive momentum from the Storm.
“Our defense was great in that game,” he said. “We came out man-to-man and kept the pressure on, and our defense definitely led to the win.”
Blaine held Squalicum to two points in the first quarter, and the Storm’s scoreboard didn’t reach the double digits until the
second half. The Borderites caused 22 turnovers and stole the ball 19 times. Chau led her team in steals with seven, and hauled in five rebounds. Junior Alexis McElwain and sophomore Taylor V’Dovec earned seven points and eight rebounds apiece for Blaine.
The shooting on both ends of the court was off target – both teams scored only 31 percent of their attempts during play. Blaine fared better from the free-throw line, scoring 56 percent of their foul shot attempts.
Despite the tight defending, the game was relatively clean, with Blaine committing six personal fouls and Squalicum committing seven.
At home against Sehome January 15, Pike tried out a new defense combining a four-person zone with a one-on-one matchup. Called a “box-on-one” defense, the strategy was to target Sehome’s Rachel Albert. Blaine juniors Olivia Olason and Rhianna Breedlove traded off in the one-on-one matchup and succeeded in holding Albert to eight points in the first half. But Sehome scored four three-point baskets in the first half, and the box-on-one defense was scrapped in favor of Blaine’s usual match-up zone.
“Our goal was to keep Albert from scoring as much as she can,” Pike said. “But they ended up scoring half of their first 24 points in the first half with three-pointers, so we went back to zone defense.”
Back in their comfortable defensive setup, the Borderites hit their stride, and pulled away from the Mariners. After ending the first half down by four points, Blaine held Sehome to four points in the third quarter, scoring 11 of their own. Sehome came within two points of the lead in the fourth quarter, but Blaine held on to win the Northwest Conference matchup 42-35.
V’Dovec and Hayes scored a team-high 12 points each against Sehome. V’Dovec tallied a double-double, snagging 13 rebounds, giving three assists and stealing the ball three times. Chau gained five steals for Blaine. McElwaine scored nine points with four rebounds and three assists, and Olason contributed five points.
Albert scored a double-double for Sehome with 14 points and 10 rebounds.
“It’s a huge win for us,” Pike said. “It was one of those games where I told the girls we have a 50-50 chance of winning, and we executed well to get the win.”
With the two victories, Blaine improved their season record to nine wins, five losses and their NWC record to four wins, three losses. The Borderites are ranked in the middle of the pack for NWC 1A basketball, with the seventh-best record out of 13 teams.