At a little past five p.m. on February 17, Charlie Franklin stood on the foul line, his body arced in a slight C-shaped crouch, his silhouette a study in all those tions that sports psychologists talk about relaxation, determination, and conviction.
The 2A bi-district sudden-death crossover game between Blaine and Klahowya was only 30 or 40 seconds old as Franklin sent one, then a second, basketball spinning counter-clockwise through the hoop. Those two studied shots forecast the shape of things to come.
Blaine, cool and confident, went on to defeat Klahowya 71-56, eliminating the Eagles from further play. The Borderites (15-6) were slated to play the Port Townsend Redskins (9-11) in the first round of the bi-ds double elimination phase at Mt. Vernon on February 21 (while TNL was at press). The winner will most likely face Nooksack (19-1) in the semi-final February 27; the loser will probably collide with Chimacum (10-9) February 24.
In the Klahowya contest, Franklin, the seers silhouette, went on to tally 20 points and collect 11 boards for Blaine. The Bs other big man, Andrew Martin, played one of his finest games, scoring 16 points and securing seven boards. A trio of Borderite guards Ryan Pike 10, Keith Williams 8, and Skyler Anderson 8 added further injury to Klahowyas chances, as did Cory Crews, seven points and two boards, and Kekoa Davidson, two points and three boards.
If the game wasnt Williams spinning the ball up for two on an airborne lay-up that suggested a partial repeal of gravity, it was Martin rising head, shoulders and such above the opposition to pluck a ball off the glass that guaranteed gravity had gone out of style. Or it was Franklin twirling and swirling through a clutch of defenders to make a left-hand lay-up look easy or Pike running into space to turn a L.J. Cunningham pass into a deuce or a host of local hoopsters playing playoff-level basketball. It was a team triumph.
Blaine concluded the regular season on February 13, topping Meridian 55-44 at the Big Orange. Franklin got 14 points and 11 rebounds. Williams added 13 points and Martin tacked on 11 more for the Bs. Trojan Joel Pears was top point producer with 18 points in a losing cause.
After sharing a 12-12 Q1 tie, Blaine went up 25-18 at the half and led 36-22 at three quarters. Meridian then came alive, scoring as many points in the final frame as they did in the previous three. The Ts 22-point Q4 output, however, was only three points more than Blaines 19.
The Gentlemen Bs and Ts each netted 17 field shots, but Blaine outscored Meridian 17-4 from the line. The Bs 13-point foul shot edge exceeded their 11-point game-winning margin, highlighting the importance of charity; theres nothing foul about winning that way.
Bs headed for district
Anna Sticklin scored 25 points from inside, outside and in-between as Blaine defeated the Orting Cardinals 54-32 in their 2A bi-district girls basketball instant elimination crossover playoff on February 17 at the Big Orange.
It was more than one small step up for the inspiring Sticklin, who more than doubled her 11 points per game average, and a giant step up for the state-aspiring Lady Bs, who moved into the double elimination phase of bi-district action.
Blaine (12-9) faces Eatonville (16-1) at 8 p.m. February 22 in Mt. Vernon. If the Lady Bs win, theyll meet the Lynden Christian-Meridian winner at 6:30 p.m. February 27 in the semi-finals. If they lose, theyll play the LC-Trojan loser at 6:30 p.m. February 24 in the do-or-die bracket.
The Lady Bs man-to-man defense kept Ortings offense occupied, making 20 turnovers to Blaines 12 while Blaines glass workers out-rebounded the Cards 36-23. Scrappy 54 guard Lynsey Taylor joined posts Becky Riddle and Jessica Summers in collecting six rebounds each.
Suzy Nunnally, Ortings only hoopster of concern, accounted for 62.5 percent of the Lady Cs point production, hitting for 20 of the Cs 32 points. It was a commendable performance but neutralized by Blaines complete dominance over any other four Cards Orting put on the floor.
Blaine had a 16-3 edge in assists. Kristina Francis, Taylor and Sticklin each matched the Orting total assist output. The Lady Bs outscored the visitors in every quarter (10-5, 14-7, 16-9 and 14-11).
The Borderites concluded the regular NCC season on February 13, which turned out to be a Tuesday masquerading as a Friday as the Meridian Trojans upset the Lady Bs 47-38 in Laurel.
The win, Meridians sixth in 16 NCC games, put the Lady Ts in sixth place in the conference and in the last NCC spot in the crossover playoffs.
Blaine outscored Meridian 9-6 and 10-6 in the first and fourth quarters, but couldnt contain the Lady Ts in the middle quarters as they outscored Blaine 19-13 and 16-6.
That mid-quarter scoring splurge and Meridians accuracy of shot execution highlighted the game. The Trojans shot 47 percent (14/30) from the floor and 55 percent (12/22) from the line. The Lady Bs converted 32 percent (14/44) of their field and 50 percent (5/10) of their free attempts. Riddle led Blaine with 10 points.