The Blaine High School girl’s basketball team started their 2012-13 season off with a bang at home Tuesday evening, November 27, in a convincing 71-30 point victory over the Concrete Lions.
With a confident all-around performance that began with the starting whistle and lasted all four quarters, the Borderites put on a show for the home crowd. No early season jitters were visible from this squad, as they soundly handled the smaller Concrete team on both sides of the court.
With eight of 10 Blaine players putting points on the board, Tuesday’s victory was a true team effort. Taylor V’Dovec, Breanna Chau, Mandy Hayes and Alexis McElwain all scored in the double digits, with Hayes, the leading scorer, putting up 16 points. Blaine played aggressively – perhaps a little too aggressively in the first half, committing 15 personal fouls as a team. They cleaned up their play in the second half, and ended the game with 22 personal fouls to Concrete’s 19.
Despite being a much smaller squad, Concrete held their own on the defensive end of the court, but was beat on most rebounds by the taller, more aggressive Blaine team.
“Their coach (Kevin Rensink) has done a great job with the Concrete girls,” said John Liebert, fan and game announcer, “but it’s tough with such a small squad.”
Blaine coach Ryan Pike was pleased with the outcome of Tuesday’s game.
“Our team executed offense better than expected,” he said. “Not that I wasn’t expecting them to do well, but they surprised me with how solid they looked out there. On defense, they switched from man-to-man coverage to zone defense without any confusion, and that was great. They came out strong and carried it through the whole game. Concrete, being a smaller squad, I knew we were going to have them on the boards, but they played strong and had a good showing that the scoreboard doesn’t really reflect.”
In the first quarter, Chau came out strong in the first minutes of the game, with two baskets right off the bat. McElwain and Hayes connected for a heads-up turnover that Hayes laid up for two, and another turnover had V’Dovec beating the Concrete defense back to their zone for a layup. Play was relatively back-and-forth in the first quarter, but Blaine was draining shots where Concrete was missing. Near the end of the first quarter, Blaine found their stride on defense and had the Lions shooting from the perimeter. Concrete sophomore Taylor Warner sank a three-pointer, but the score at the end of the first quarter foretold the rest of the game: Blaine 18, Concrete 6.
In the second quarter, Hayes and Chau sank three-pointers, and fouls started to add up for Blaine. Play continued to go Blaine’s way, with Mikayla Deming, Olivia Olason, V’Dovec, McElwain, Hayes and Chau scoring often. At the end of the first half, the score was Blaine 39, Concrete 15. Blaine as a team had 15 personal fouls to Concrete’s nine. Two-thirds of Concrete’s points in the first half came from free throws, as they sank 10 of 22 attempts at the line.
The second half started with fouls back and forth as Concrete started to play more aggressively. Concrete senior Jessica Filtz had a dominant performance in the third quarter, leading her team from the point-guard position. V’Dovec answered with an equally impressive performance on both ends of the court. She wrapped up jump balls, went to the boards for multiple rebounds, blocked shots and kept scoring along with what seemed to be the rest of the Blaine team. Nicole Ortega went strong to the basket for two layups. The third quarter ended with Blaine on top 54-19.
In the fourth quarter, Concrete continued to battle hard, but couldn’t avoid the 40-point spread that, under new Washington Interscholastic Activities Association regulations, leads to a running-clock as a sort of mercy rule. This meant that halfway through the fourth quarter, the clock continued to run whenever the ball went out of bounds or points were scored. As the clock wound down, Blaine continued its impressive performance with good ball movement, and every athlete on the team saw lots of playing time. The final score was Blaine 71, Concrete 30.
Pike noted the stellar performance of V’Dovec after the game. Through the whole game, she scored 14 points, had 17 rebounds including four offensive rebounds, four steals and at least one block (another block was whistled a foul, but was definitely close).
At the point-guard position, Chau and Hayes directed their team with good communication. The team executed offensive plays like they had known them for years. Chau displayed confident ball-handling skills, along with good passing and shooting. McElwain was flawless at the line, sinking all four of her free throws. Rhianna Breedlove also shot 100 percent at the free-throw line, sinking both baskets.
Athletic director Wayne Vezetti had nothing but praise for the team.
“It was a great first showing, and it looks like they have a bright future ahead of them,” he said.