by Jack Kintner
Basketball teams defeat Meridian
Freshman Joey Paciorek scored 20 points, 10 of them in overtime, to lift Blaine past a strong Meridian team 65-55 last Friday night at Meridian.
Playing for the first time in almost two weeks due to weather, the Borderites kept pace with the Trojans throughout a run-and-gun first half in a match tinged with a bit of revenge. Last year Meridian, with much the same group of players as this year, went to the state tournament while Blaine stumbled at districts and stayed home.
Meridian�s senior guard Cameron Gilmore, who finished with 31 points to top all scorers, began sinking some long shots in the third quarter, breaking a 34-all tie that Blaine didn�t erase until the last two seconds of regulation play.
Late in the fourth, Jake Gilmore sailed through the Meridian defense like a pole-vaulter, his lay-in to narrowing the lead to four at 49-45. Blaine then began fouling to save time, forcing Meridian to the free-throw line. The Trojans sent up brick after brick, basically giving away the game with poor free-throw shooting.
Blaine was quick to take advantage, outscoring Meridian 7 to 3 in the final minute, the frosting on the cake provided by Paciorek whose lay-up tied the score at 52 with two seconds left on the clock as astronauts reported hearing noises from the packed Meridian gym in outer space.
Meridian was held to just three points but scored first in the five-minute overtime, and when an exhausted Cameron Gilmore was called for traveling with 2:28 left, Blaine, trailing by two, called a time out.
When play resumed Joey Paciorek tied the game with two minutes left at 54. Blaine�s Kamal Singh then fouled Trojan Cameron Gilmore who sank the back half of a 1-and-1 for a one-point Meridian lead and the last of their points for the evening.
The rest of the game was all Blaine as they held Meridian scoreless for the last two minutes of play while scoring 11. The next in-bounds play ended quickly in another Paciorek field goal for a one-point Blaine lead, 56-55. Meridian answered with their second traveling violation in just under 90 seconds and again gave up the ball.
With 1:13 left and a one-point lead Blaine�s point guard Ryan Alexander brought the ball upcourt through a dying but not yet dead Meridian defense that was thrashing like a freshly boated salmon that realizes it�s doomed. Alexander nearly lost it at one point before sending it inside to Jake Gilmore at the post. Paciorek, who tends to run to where he thinks the ball will be, got the second offensive rebound and deftly put it away for his third field goal of the overtime period and a 58-55 Blaine lead.
Meridian began fouling to save clock time as Blaine had done at the end of regulation play, but their primary target, Paciorek, sunk four out of five foul shots to ice the victory. Jake Gilmore added a foul shot and a field goal for the final 65-55 score. Blaine improved to 4-3 (3-0 in league play) with the win.
Lynden Christian game
The Borderites faced down the Lynden Christian squad last Saturday night 53-49. The win preserved their perfect league record at 4-0 (5-3 overall). Blaine�s 36 percent shooting from the field was slightly better than LC�s 34 percent. Blaine�s back-court trio of Mulholland, Alexander and Gilmore accounted for 38 points, Alexander scoring twice from outside the three-point line for the second game in a row while garnering another five assists.
The Borderite girls made a statement last Thursday night, soundly defeating a fairly good Meridian team 57-26 to run their season record to 8-0 (4-0 NCC).
Head coach Patrick Green set an up-tempo pace, freely substituting back and forth and had several players come off the bench for stellar performances, especially Phillina Cain, Ainsley Nix and Amanda Stull. Green assigned the quick-handed Cain to stifle Meridian�s five-foot-seven-inch sophomore point guard Dani Rienke. Cain held her to just five points while pulling down six rebounds herself, second only to the 10 shags garnered by Jessica Summers.
Stull�s game has developed dramatically in the last few contests as she�s learned to balance her impressive strength with finesse. Playing primarily as a back-up to Summers, Stull doesn�t get a lot of time, but against Meridian she made it count with two huge offensive rebounds, two steals and an assist.
Junior guard Ainsley Nix seemed to be everywhere, and finished off the fourth quarter with an attempted steal that resulted in her being called for a foul, followed by successful steal, followed by a 2-on-1 fast break with freshman guard Alyssa Hendrickson, who got the assist as Nix�s lay-in finished the scoring for Blaine.
Starters Kristina Francis (20 points, including one trey and 5/6 from the foul line) and Jessica Summers (17 points and 10 rebounds) were supported by Kimberley Harmening�s career-high 10 assists for the evening, her ball-handling skills blossoming in the frenetic, home-court atmosphere.
5th grade AAU
Blaine fifth grade girls AAU are midway through the season with a record of 22 wins and two losses, going undefeated in league play. The girls placed first in the Ferndale tournament and the Jackson holiday hoopfest. They placed third in their most recent tournament in Lynden playing against fifth and sixth grade AAU teams.
Blaine wrestlers finish eighth
Wrestling coach Craig Foster took 11 boys to the Joe Beam Invitational �King of the County� match last Saturday at Sehome high school and came away with two seconds, a fourth, a fifth and two sixth place finishes.
Calvin Moore, at 140 pounds and one of Blaine�s best, was ahead on points in his final match when Meridian senior Andy Karuza took him down and rode out the move for an eventual pin. Blayne Brandenburger wrestling at 171 pounds, faced one of Meridian�s best athletes in senior Brady Emmons and also lost by a pin.
Other finishers included Anthony Terris, fourth in the 215 poundclass, Nick Jordan, fifth at 135, John Brady, sixth at 119, and Matt Determan, sixth at 152.
�It was a tough match,� said Foster, �and these kids did well to get two into the finals. They�re coming along and getting better, and while none of us are satisfied finishing eighth out of nine schools, we�re building on a committed core.�