Lady Bs win NCC basketball championship
By Neil Macdonald
Blaine (17-3 overall, 15-1 NCC) won its first North Cascade Conference girls basketball championship, completing the 2002 regular NCC season with a 48-29 triumph over Mt. Baker 48-29 at MB on February 13 and a 66-36 victory over Meridian on February 15 at Laurel.
The Lady Bs, top-seeded in the Northwest District-1 playoffs, get a bye in the first round, then meet the winner of the February 20 first round match between fourth and fifth place finishers Lynden Christian and Lakewood on Feb.22.
The winner of this crucial contest goes into the District final on March 1 with a trip to State guaranteed. The loser drops into the consolation bracket and has to win a semi-final and final match to finish third and get to State.
Coach Pat Greens machine outscored Meridian in every quarter 17-5, 13-8, 11-10 and 25-13. The Lady Bs aggressive defense dispossessed the Lady Ts from the ball, forcing 23 Trojan turnovers, and left the Trojans hurried, hassled and hampered. Blaines multi-phased offense exhibited excellence on transitions and continued to score from the outside, inside and in-between. The Lady Bs out-rebounded the Lady Ts 44-31.
Jessica Summers, who unofficially finished the regular season with a conference-leading 335 points in 20 games (16.8 ppg), contributed 13 points and 16 boards to the triumph over the Trojans. Anna Sticklin got 13 points, 6 rebounds and 5 assists.
In the Baker game, Summers, the Lady Bs Secretary of the Interior, corralled 15 of Blaines 31 rebounds, scored 21 points and got 4 steals. Sticklin, ruler of the Outer Limits, used only five shots to tally all three Borderite 3-pointers on the way to putting up 15 points. Becky Riddle added 9 for Gang Green.
Linsey Taylor matched MBs assist output total of four. Her teammates added nine more to bring Blaines total to13.
Blaine took a 14-9 first quarter and tucked the game away with a 17-1 second quarter that left the Lady Bs ahead 31-10 at the half. Baker edged Blaine 19-17 in the second half. It was too little, too late. .
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turned up in State race
Nooksack Valley defeated Blaine 58-44 in a North Cascades Conference boys basketball playoff on February 18 at Lynden Christian to break a tie for second place in the NCC and gain a bye in the first round of District 1 2A playoffs.
As a result, Blaine finished third and play South Whidbey at 8 p.m. on February 21 in a first round District game at Skagit Valley Community College. The Pioneers wait for a second round District match at 1 p.m. on February 23 in Mt. Vernon with the winner of the Borderite-Falcon affair. If Blaine beats South Whidbey, the ensuing Pioneer-Borderite game would be their fourth meeting.
Prior to NVs 58-44 Feb. 18 playoff win, the teams had split a pair of regular season games. Blaine edged NV 56-54 in OT at Nooksack on January 4 and the Valley boys beat the Borderites 66-59 at Blaine on February 5.
A loss to either South Whidbey or Nooksack would put Blaine in the consolation District bracket where sudden death is the way of life. Only the two teams in the winners bracket final game and the winner of the consolation bracket go to the State.
The Feb. 18 game saw NV take a 12-7 Q1 lead on Ty Willemsens 7 points, Kyle Vermeulens trey and Kyle Boons deuce. They extended their lead to 24-18 in Q2, a quarter that saw Boon get 7 points for NV and Brendan Mulholland, 7 for Blaine.
The game was probably decided in the first three minutes of Q3 when Nooksack went on a binge of basket-making, scoring 12 unanswered points. The quarter ended with Nooksack ahead 40-28. Blaine roared back with a 9-0 scoring streak to close NVs lead to a single point with 4:45 left, but NV surged back, outscoring the Borderites 18-5 in the last half of Q4.
Keith Williams, who scored 10 points, was Blaines lone shot-smith in double figures. Nooksack had four sharpshooters with 10 or more points. Jason Heutink had 13; Kyle Boon, 12; Kyle Vermeulen and Ty Willemsen 10 each.
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