With an easy win over Eatonville, the girls basketball team punched their ticket to the regional round of the state tournament for the third year in a row.
Blaine cruised past Eatonville, winning 60–44 at Lynnwood High School on February 18. The win earned the Borderites fifth place in the tri-district tournament and a trip to Mark Morris High School for a winner-to-state/loser-out game against Woodland on Saturday, March 1.
Last year, after defeating Eatonville in the same seeding match in tri-districts, the Borderites were ousted from playoffs by Castle Rock, a team that was undefeated at the time and ranked No. 1 in 1A. This year, the Borderites will have to outplay another undefeated team – Woodland – to keep their state tournament dreams alive.
“They’re ranked sixth or seventh in the state. They have a couple of strong shooters and they play defense really hard. They’ll give us a run for our money,” said Blaine head coach Ryan Pike.
The Borderites overcame a grueling schedule during the districts and tri-districts to get this far, with six games in nine days. Their only loss came from King’s, the same team that beat them in the tri-district tournament last year. After securing their bid to state, the Borderites took a much-needed rest. Pike gave them Friday off, and snow days on Monday and Tuesday resulted in a five-day respite from practice. Now, Pike said it’s time to get going and prepare for Woodland.
“We’ll be getting our legs back underneath us, running, working on shooting, shoring up some things on offense and defense. We’ll be getting ready,” he said.
The team looked confident in their match against Eatonville. Alexis McElwain and Taylor V’Dovec earned double-doubles: McElwain scored 22 points and 10 rebounds, and V’Dovec scored 20 points and 10 rebounds. Mandy Hayes scored an additional 15 points for Blaine.
“We came out and executed,” Pike said. “The offense shot 51 percent. We got the ball where it needed to be and took good shots. Watching the film I knew we could get them on the inside, and we were able to get the ball inside for a lot of lay-ins.”
On defense, the Borderites hustled back to the zone and played man-to-man in an effort to shut down Kaelyn Voss, who was still able to score 22 points, mostly in the fourth quarter.
“We did a little bit of pressing here and there, but we needed to conserve energy when we could,” Pike said.
Focusing on close-range offense paid off for the Borderites. By the third quarter they were up 28 points. Voss’ fourth-quarter effort brought the Cruisers back into the game, but the Borderites held on easily to keep their postseason rolling along.
The regional game at Mark Morris High School in Longview begins at 6 p.m. Tickets are $10 for adults and students without ASB cards, $8 for seniors and students with ASB cards and free for children five and under.