By Neil Macdonald
Nooksack edges Blaine in thriller
Blaine went from an easy to accept 61-46 win on the road over last-place Sultan on January 21 to a tough to take 46-36 defeat at home by league-leading, undefeated, top-ranked Nooksack on January 24.
The latter game filled Borderite Court, was featured in a Blaine student webcast classroom project, and was, perhaps, the best played game of the season.
With Blaine�s offense slowing the pace of the game to tortoise time and Nooksack�s hurrying across the hardwood like the floor was on fire, the two teams played to a 23-23 half-time tie. The Borderites had the edge in Q1, Jake Gilmore and Brendan Mulholland getting a deuce each in final seconds to give Blaine a 13-9 lead.
Nooksack�s run-the-floor format and a series of Kyle Vermeulen put-back baskets gave the Pioneers the edge in Q2 as the half ended in a 23-23 tie.
Q3, Blaine�s bane, continued to bug the Borderites as Vermeulen et al outscored the Double B�s 13-6 to go up 36-29.
Blaine rallied in the final Q, and closed the score to three points of separation with 1:46 left and the ball in Borderite hands. The Borderite�s Slo-Mo strategy appeared to be on its way to success. NV was ahead, 36-33. Victory was two deuces away.
But NV�s Ty Willemsen picked off a Blaine pass, and after Ty missed a lay-up, Jason Heutink tucked a putback down the cords. NV, 38-33. A second steal, this one by Heutink and a successful lay-up. NV, 40-33. Nooksack went on to win and remain undefeated, 13-0 overall, 9-0 NCC. Blaine went to 9-4 overall, 6-3 NCC.
Vermeulen with 16 and Heutink with 14 were premier Pioneer point producers. Grant Sanders got 13; Mulholland, 11; Ryan Alexander, 8; and Gilmore, 4 for the Borderites.
The Sultan game saw Blaine outscore the Turks at a 2-to-1 point advantage in the first half, leading 20-10 after Q1 and 38-19 after Q2. Sultan out-pointed the Borderites 27-23 in a rather meaningless second half.
Blaine�s full-court pressure defensive strategy and 40 percent (21-of-53) floor shooting proficiency on offense added up to the Borderites ascendancy on court. Gilmore scored 20; Sanders, 13; Mulholland,11; Alexander, 6; Erik Kramer, 5; Jon Freeman, 4; and Matt Van Beek, 2.
The Double B�s play the Tigers at Granite Falls on February 1 and host Lynden Christian at Borderite Court on February 4 at 7:30 p.m.
Bs push streak to 13
Blaine�s undefeated Lady Borderites extended their win streak to 13 defeating Sultan 58-25 on January 21 at Borderite Court and Nooksack Valley 46-38 on January 23 at Nooksack in North Cascades Conference girls basketball action.
The victory over The Lady Pioneers was not without anxiety for Blaine. The Lady B�s and P�s were three points apart at the half. Blaine�s Jessica Summers, the NCC scoring leader, had been double-teamed by an effective Nooksack zone defense and held scoreless. The butterflies were aroused and really got aflutter after Q3 as only two points separated the Bs and Ps.
But the final eight minutes were Blaine�s as the Lady Bs out-pointed the Lady Ps 14-8. When the fat lady stopped singing, the divas of the day were Summers (14 points, 17 rebounds), Shela Robertson (14 points), Kristina Francis (12 points, 2 treys), Linsey Taylor (4 points, 5 assists) and Jennifer Kramer (2 points).
In contrast to the NV game, in which Blaine came close to eating crow, the Sultan tilt was a piece of cake. With 1:28 gone in Q1, Summers plucked a pass from Robertson out of the stratosphere, spun round 180 degrees and banked the basketball off the glass into the basket. It was the first field goal of the game and the template for the shape of things to come.
If Summers wasn�t taking a floating feather of a pass above and beyond the out-stretched hands of two or three Turk defenders, she was turning errant Lady B shots into rebound baskets. Stretch tucked away a game-high 19 points � all in the first half. With Blaine up 36-11 by Q3, Summer�s assault was no longer needed, especially since the Lady B�s out-pointed the Lady T�s 22-14 in Q3 and Q4.
Robertson scored 9 points. Jennifer Kramer got 8 and led in rebounds with 9. Phillina Cain and Taylor got 6 each; Francis, 4; and Ainsley Nix and Kimberly Harmening, 3 each.
The Lady Bs hit 38 percent (21-of-56) from the floor and 59 percent (16-of-27) from the foul stripe. They got 9 more rebounds (35-26) and 10 more assists (17-7) than the Lady Ts and 9 less fouls (13-22). Most importantly, Blaine committed 18 turnovers to Sultan�s 36. That was ball control, big D defense and the game.
The Lady Bs host Granite Falls at 7:30 on January 31 and play Lynden Christian at LC on February 4.
Barracudas win titles
Seven Blaine Barracudas � Justin Belding, Tyson Foster, Jacob Humphrey, Josh Jones, Jesse Kilthau, Niko Rehon and Derik Stremler � won titles at the Northwest Washington Folkstyle Wrestling League Championships at Everett on January 18.
Luke Christianson, Jon Fakkema, Alex Pennington, Jeremy Holdaas, Brandon Heggem and Mathew Simoneau were silver medalists for the �Cudas while Justin Dhillon, Tanner Foster, Jake Jones, Dimitri Sampson and Daniel Smith placed third. Cody Blier, Caleb Johnson, Evan Magner, Troy Rathjen and Michael Simoneau finished fourth.
The �Cudas complete the folkstyle season on February 1 and 2 when they travel to Washougal for the USA Wrestling Folkstyle State Championships.
The �Cudas freestyle wrestling season starts in early February. For info, contact Craig Foster at 371-7467.
are Wrestlemania champions
With Richie Tewes and Bayartsengel Khishigdorj winning championships, Blaine�s wrestling team scored 168.5 points to win the Studhorse Wrestlemania 2003 tournament at Darrington January 25. It was coach Craig Foster�s young Borderites� first tournament championship of the season.
Tewes outpointed Friday Harbor�s Tim Aylward 8-2 to take the 130-pound crown and the first tournament title of his career. Khishigdorj scored a 17-7 major decision over Darrington�s Jonner Forrest to win the 152-pound title.
Blaine�s Calvin Moore finished second, losing in the 135-pound final via a pin in 1:47 by Onalaska�s Joe Gomes. Anthony Terris, the 215-pounder who wrestles at 275, got Blaine�s second second, being pinned in the heavyweight final by Onalaska�s Robert Johnson in 3:32.
Borderite thirds went to Tony Rabonza at 103 (17-1 technical fall over Concrete�s Aspen Crouter), Nick Jordan at 112 (injury default over Blaine�s John Brady wrestling unattached), Tom Paranic at 140 (17-2 technical fall over Onalaska�s Colin Roe), and John Brandenburger at 215 (pin over Blaine�s Bryce Lacasse wrestling unattached).
Blaine lost a 53-29 decision to the Trojans at Meridian on January 23 in North Cascades Conference action.
The Borderites picked up five wins in the meet. Rabonza at 112 won a forfeit. Nick Jordan pinned Mark Burke in 2:54 to win at 119. Sam Adams pinned Devon Smith in 3:56 at 130. Nate Deal won a technical fall decision over Mike Lapointe at 135. Khishigdorj pinned Brent Froberg in 1:43 at 152.