Girls notch two big wins

Published on Wed, Jan 22, 2014 by Ian Ferguson

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The girls basketball team is fine tuning its game in the second half of the season, resulting in wins over Squalicum and Sehome and a top 10 ranking for 1A statewide.

The Borderites took on the Squalicum Storm at home January 16 and won 49–33 despite missing a high percentage of shots.

“It was kind of an ugly game,” said head coach Ryan Pike. “We put a lot of good shots up, but they weren’t finding the bottom of the net.”

The Borderites made a third of their 63 shot attempts, which was better than Squalicum’s 20.5 percent success rate.

“Defensively the whole team played fantastic. We came out and played hard from start to finish,” Pike said.

The Borderites were a gang of thieves on defense: Alexis McElwain racked up eight steals, while Breanna Chau contributed four, Mandy Hayes netted three, Taylor V’Dovec stole the ball twice and Olivia Olason and Mikayla Deming added a steal apiece for a team total of 19. McElwain also tallied three blocks.

Deming was the only athlete shooting on target. She made all three of her two-point attempts and both of her free throws. V’Dovec and Hayes led scoring with 15 points each.

The low shooting percentage wouldn’t have been so bad if not for a fourth quarter in which both teams “went cold,” Pike said. “In the first two quarters we were actually shooting pretty well.”

The cold spell didn’t last beyond the Squalicum game. Blaine traveled to Sehome January 20 where the Borderites sank more baskets than they missed, and fired on all cylinders for a 69–39 victory.

“This was a game where we were hitting our shots and moving the ball really well,” Pike said. “I told the girls at halftime that it was one of the best first halves I’ve seen them play together in the two years I’ve been coaching. Fantastic basketball.”

V’Dovec had a breakout performance, scoring 20 points and netting three assists, three blocks and five steals. Four Blaine athletes scored in double digits: Hayes, Chau and Olason scored 10 points each.

As a team, the Borderites tallied a season-high 19 assists. Even with the productive passing, Blaine scored often on fast breaks. Chau led the team in rebounds with nine.

At this point in the season, the Borderites are making small but impactful adjustments to position themselves for a successful post season, Pike said.

“We’re working on the little details that make a big difference, and we’ve been progressing very well,” he said. Details like being in the right place at the right time and proper shooting mechanics will go a long way against teams such as Brewster and Cashmere, which lead 1A rankings.

Blaine is currently ranked ninth in 1A statewide, according to the latest Associated Press girls basketball poll.

“We’ve lost five games, so to have that record and still be in the top 10 is pretty good,” Pike said. “As long we’re in the top six when the season ends, it doesn’t matter where we’re ranked.”

The top six 1A teams from the Tri-District tournament advance to the regional round of the state tournament.

The next game, at home against Meridian on Friday, January 24, is the annual “Coaches against cancer” game. Proceeds from the gate will go towards helping people with cancer and the search to find a cure.

“It’s always a good way to raise money for a great cause. It raises awareness and supports efforts to hopefully one day find a cure,” Pike said. The game begins at 7:15 p.m.