It’s been a decidedly mixed start to the boys basketball season. The Borderites lost to the Sedro-Woolley Cubs at their season opening game in Sedro-Woolley on November 30, but reversed roles the following day in a decisive 57-17 victory over the Coupeville Wolves. Three days later they lost in overtime to Mount Baker 61-53.
In Sedro-Woolley, the Borderites battled hard against the larger 2A Cubs. The action was fast-paced and aggressive, with the ball moving quickly from one end of the court to the other. The Borderites committed 21 turnovers to the Cubs’ 9, which played a major role in the loss. Foul calls also played a role, as the Cubs shot 29 free-throws to the Borderites’ seven.
Blaine fans were vocal about the number of fouls called on the Borderites with one parent calling it “a tough game to watch.”
Questioned afterward, the referees said it was a difficult game to officiate. “It’s early in the season,” one said, not saying whether he thought it was the play or the officiating that was rusty. Athletes are aggressive at the start of any sports season, and it’s also a time when referees hope to set a precedent of clean play for future games.
Blaine head coach Shaun Pile viewed his team’s play positively. “They played aggressive and fast-paced, from start to finish, which was great to see,” he said. “They didn’t back down against a larger team, and they ran plays pretty well. If you take away the fouls, we were pretty evenly matched (with the Cubs), but obviously that’s not how the score turned out. We’re looking forward, it’s the first game of the season, and we’re still getting used to each other, so we’ve got some work to do, but I’m not at all discouraged by how we played today.”
Senior point-guard Ivan Sanchez was the leading scorer for the Borderites, with 16 points including one three-pointer. Senior Gabe Trump was close behind with 14 points and a three-pointer.
The next day in Coupeville, Blaine soundly defeated the smaller team.
According to Jim Waller, sports editor for the Whidbey News-Times, much of the Coupeville squad was laid-low with a flu-like bug.
Regardless, Blaine put on a display of good basketball skills, and all Borderites got plenty of playing time. Ten different Blaine players scored in the first half alone. Blaine junior Gabe Trump scored 12 points, and senior Jericho Probadora scored 10. Blaine shot well at the line, making 11 of 18 free throws, compared to Coupeville’s 1 of 13.
The game at Mount Baker High School Tuesday night was a nail-biter that seemed to be going Blaine’s way from the
starting buzzer to the end of regulation. The Borderites forced double-digit turnovers in the first quarter and held the Mountaineers shotless for the first five minutes of the game.
Blaine was ahead 27-17 at halftime, and increased that lead to 14 points in the start of the third quarter, but that’s when Mount Baker found its stride.
“We let them back in the game with second chance opportunities on defense and being too passive on offense,” Pile said. Chipping away at the Blaine lead, Mount Baker tied the game with 30 seconds left on the clock. Blaine got a shot off at the buzzer, but missed, and in overtime the Mountaineers rode their momentum to a win.
The Blaine boys’ basketball team will play its first home game on Friday, December 7 against the Ferndale Lyncs. In the first seven games, the Blaine Borderites will only take the court at home once.