Sports -- March 14, 2002

Published on Thu, Mar 14, 2002
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SPORTS

Blaine boys rebound to finish 5th at State; Pike is named second team All-Tourney
By Neil Macdonald
Coach Dan Rucker’s Blaine Borderites topped Steilacoom Sentinels 49-33 on March 9 in the Yakima SunDome to finish fifth in the 2002 State 2A boys’ basketball tournament.
It was the 14th trophy in 22 appearances for a Blaine boys’ team and the 4th trophy and 5th straight appearance at State.
The B’s survived a 48-46 overtime first round loss to Port Townsend on March 6, rallying to top Eatonville 72-47 on March 7 and edge Cashmere 49-48 on March 8 to reach the consolation final with Steilacoom, who they beat 49-47 in their season’s opener on December 1, 2001.
Following a brilliant game plan, Blaine spread the floor, slowed the tempo to tortoise time and forced the Sentinels out of their paint-packed 2-3 zone defense. It worked. Run-and-gun, quick transition Steilacoom spent Q1, well, like Sentinels, waiting and watching. As did Blaine much of the time.
With the Borderites up 6-4 going into Q2, the Sentinels extended their zone to try to pressure the Double BB’s into Mach-2 tempo, but Blaine simply shot through the gaps in Steilacoom’s stretched zone to have a 18-2 quarter and take a 24-6 lead at the half.
The Sentinels outscored Blaine 10-6 in Q3, but the B’s had a 30-16 edge going into Q4.
Steilacoom closed the gap to 10 points a couple of times, but with time running out, the S’s had to foul to get possession and to watch Blaine hit 13-of-19 free throws as the B’s terminated Q4 with a 19-17 edge.
Pike, who was named to the All-Tourney second team, got 8 rebounds and 6 points; Jake Gilmore, a game-high 13 points and Cory Crews, 10. Chelan beat Grandview 58-55 to win the State championship.
Port Townsend 48, Blaine 46
The Borderites trailed Port Townsend 16-13 after Q1, but had a 19-7 Q2 to lead 32-23 at the half, then went colder than arctic ice in the second half and overtime, scoring 14 points in 20 minutes. PT outscored the B’s 9-5 in Q3, 9-4 in Q4 and 7-5 in OT.
Blaine started Q4 with a 37-32 lead, but PT tied it 41-41 with three minutes left. A scoreless skein of missed shots, travels, turnovers and heartbreak followed.
Keith Williams opened OT with a trey. Blaine, 44-41. Devin Shuck countered with a deuce and a freebee. 44-44. Nils Dobszinsky put PT up 46-44. Pike, who led Blaine with 8 points and 9 boards, retaliated. 46-46. The crowd’s average heartbeat raced past 170 per minute when Shuck sent a rainbow over the B’s D. It hit the pot of gold, the ball and Blaine’s highest hopes going down the corded drain.

Blaine 72, Eatonville 47
Revising their hopes for a higher finish to what was still available – fifth place – the Borderites overwhelmed Eatonville, but the overwhelming didn’t come ’til Q3. Blaine took an anemic 11-10 lead when Williams hit a trey with five seconds left in Q1.
Skyler Anderson got back-to-back treys in Q2, his second gave the B’s a 3-point lead and set up a 32-26 halftime Borderite edge. It was less than overwhelming, just whelming. Note - Casey Stengel would add “there is such a word – you can look it up.”
Pike combined a trey, 5 straight free throws and 5 deuces into an 18-point Q3 as the B’s outscored the C’s 27-14. Ryan’s reign broke the Cruisers’ back. Blaine was up 59-40 going into Q4 and outscored Eatonville 13-7 in the final Q. Pike finished with two game-highs – 25 points and 13 rebounds. Anderson got 19 points (including 4 treys); Williams, 9 points and 6 assists.

Blaine 49, Cashmere 48

Blaine-Cashmere seemed even closer than the score indicates. The Borderites and the Bulldogs each got 6 treys and 14 deuces. Blaine had a 3-2 edge in free throws.
The Bulldogs led 17-12 after Q1 as Shawn Fletcher, who scored a game-high 18 points, hit three straight 3-pointers. Blaine out-scored Cashmere 18-4 in Q2. Grant Sanders sank three treys and a deuce for 11 of his 12 game points.
Q3 was the CB’s Jared Brandeberry’s turn. He got 8 of his 14 points to help put the ’Dogs within 2 of Blaine at three-quarter time.
Blaine started Q4 ahead 43-41, but were down 48-47 with 3:37 to go when Brandeberry put a 2 in from the paint. Hero time came with 2:30 left. Williams broke into the paint, drew CB defensive attention, then passed to Pike, who scored.
A single point is no game-guaranteeing margin with two-and-a-half minutes left, but desperation can mean big D (as in defense). Blaine shut Cashmere down the rest of the way. Pike provided the final flash of flair, blocking a last second hoop-bound effort by Fletcher. The win put Blaine in the consolation final for fifth. .
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Lady Borderites beat
Woodland to take fourth at State

Blaine defeated Woodland 44-41 to place fourth in the 2002 State 2A girls’ basketball tournament on March 9 at the Yakima SunDome.
Accompanying the best finish at State for a Blaine girls basketball team ever was the naming of two Lady Borderites – Anna Sticklin and Jessica Summers – to the media’s all-tournament second team.
Coach Pat Green’s emphasis on defense once again paid dividends as Blaine’s D stifled Woodland’s hi- octane offense. WB’s Hannah Hanes, who scored 30 against Nooksack, was limited to 2 points. Ashley Rodman 13-point first half dwindled to a 4-point performance in Q’s 3, 4. The Beavers only hit 4-for-23 from the floor in the second half. That’s 17.4 percent and a formula for defeat.
Blaine led 12-11, 24-23 and 35-30 at the Q’s. With 3:29 left in Q4, Riddle was gone on fouls and Summers was a foul away from departure. Seconds later, Taylor got her fourth.
WB promptly closed it to 41-37. With 1:42 left, those 4 points of separation looked a tad less than safe. Then Sticklin hit a 2 and Blaine had a 2-trey lead. Woodland closed it to 43-41 with 16 seconds left. A free throw point 4 secs left gave Blaine 3 points of separation. Borderite D and the clock took care of the rest.

Blaine 60, Kiona-Benton 32
Blaine’s opener with Kiona-Benton was close for one half as a 15-5 Borderite lead after Q1 shrunk to 25-21 by halftime. The gap was only 27-25 early in Q3, when Summers, who opened the quarter with a deuce, went into overdrive. She added 10 more points to her opening 2-pointer to spark an 18-6 Blaine third quarter. Up 43-27 going into Q4, Blaine put the Bears away with a 17-5 onslaught.
K-B wasn’t helped by losing starters McKenzie Burgess (19 ppg), Amber Grier (13 ppg) and Tiebe Harmala on fouls. Grier and Harmala went into hibernation in Q3. Burgess left halfway through Q4.
The game had a hockey moment early in Q4 when Burgess, travelling at full throttle, sent Sticklin crashing to the maples where her head collided with an immovable object – the floor. A conscious, but stunned Sticklin remained on the floor for several minutes and, as a precautionary measure, was taken to a Yakima hospital for observation. Fortunately, she was back on court next day.
Summers got 17 points and 12 rebounds; Sticklin, 12 points; Shela Robertson, 8; and Linsey Taylor, 7. Blaine took a tourney record 43 free throws, hitting 24.

Chelan 48, Blaine 37
Chelan, who beat Hoquiam 51-47, Tenino 46-43 and lost 53-40 to Yakima’s East Valley in the championship game, were a formidable foe. The Lady Goats led the Lady B’s 7-1 in treys, in floor shooting 43 to 33 percent and in foul successes 50 to 33 percent. They had 4 fewer turnovers, one less foul and 3 more assists than Blaine.
Three Lady G’s scored in double figures. Coco Poirier got 18; Stephanie Parsley, 12; and Sarah Schramm, 11. Sticklin got 18 points and Summers had 9 points and 10 rebounds.
Stephanie Parsley sank 4 treys on 8 shots, a remarkable 50 percent 3-point shooting average.
Green’s machine played on par with Chelan for three quarters. Q1 was a 9-9 tie, the B’s led 19-14 at the half, were out-pointed 9-6 in Q3, but still ahead 25-23 going into Q4. Chelan then turned tourney finalist, outscoring Blaine 25-12.
Kimberly Harmening, who took an elbow in the face, was the second Borderite to end on the floor during State. She also survived to play another day.

Blaine 42, Ephrata 35
Blaine’s upset win over the 2001 State finalist Ephrata Tigers was either a result of the Lady B’s efficient shot-spoiling, shot-smothering defense, the Lady T’s inefficient offense that hit 12-of-51 (23.5 percent) from the floor, or both of the above.
Summers (3 deuces) and Sticklin (a free throw and a trey) gave the B’s a 10-7 in Q1 and hope of winning their first game in three clashes at State with the T’s, winners over Blaine in ’99 and ’01. The enthusiasm dampened a bit in Q2 when Ephrata outscored the Lady B’s 10-2 to take a 17-12 half-time lead. Each team put in 9 points in Q3, which led to Excitement City, a.k.a. Q4.
With Ephrata ahead 32-25, Blaine turned tiger, big-time like, as in saber-toothed. Robertson hit a lay-up igniting a 17-0 streak that put Blaine ahead 42-32 with 43 seconds left. It was too much for the Tigers.
Sticklin got 16 points and Kristina Francis, 13. Summers combined 7 points with 11 rebounds. Robertson was solid gold on defense, holding Michelle Mickle, the eye of the Tigers with a 18.6 ppg average, to 10 points.. .
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