Sports -- January 29, 2004

Published on Thu, Jan 29, 2004
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SPORTS
by Jack Kintner

Girls win, boys lose to Nooksack

The second-ranked Borderite girls blew out visiting fifth-ranked Nooksack Valley 53-36 last Friday night, breaking the game open with a 15-3 third quarter run. Senior Shela Robertson was high-point scorer for the game with 16 points, including a perfect 7-for-7 from the field.

In the first half Blaine didn�t contain Nooksack as well as expected, and when senior Kara Groen potted two quick three-point shots coach Patrick Green reverted to Blaine�s energetic man-to-man coverage. Blaine then worked its lead up from three after one quarter to seven at the half.

But things still weren�t completely worked out. Nooksack out rebounded Blaine (29-28 for the entire game) and forced a number of turnovers in the first half, mostly by triple-teaming Jess Summers. At the other end of the floor, according to Green, the visiting Pioneers were getting too many offensive rebounds.

Over halftime the issue of the team�s defensive performance was addressed in somewhat less than ladylike terms, according to a fly on the wall, and in the second half the girls went after the hapless Pioneers like crows after fresh roadkill, allowing Nooksack exactly 0 offensive rebounds.

Shela �Perfect� Robertson started Blaine�s third quarter run with a 10-foot bank shot worthy of a John Wooden coaching clinic, followed by five points from Jess Summers. A 20-foot field goal from Kimberley Harmening and more charity stripe points from Kristina Francis and from Summers put the game out of reach. Nooksack added nine in the fourth quarter to Blaine�s seven but by then it was academic.

Blaine�s scoring was shared by Robertson (16), Summers (14), Francis (9, one three-point goal), Harmening (8), Nix (4) and Kramer (2).

Blaine is now 12-0 (8-0 NCC), and Nooksack drops to 10-3 (6-3 NCC). That does not include last night�s game with Mount Baker, finished after press time. The girls� next opponent is tomorrow at Granite Falls.

Boys lose league lead
The boy�s home opener last December saw them delight a partisan crowd with a 14-point victory over last year�s AA state champion Nooksack Valley Pioneers. Last Friday the home team won again by 14, except this time Blaine played in the snake-pit Pioneer gym on Badger Road and came out second best, 57-43.

The story was told in the trenches, where Nooksack�s six-foot-two-inch senior post Darin Vinkes pulled down almost as many rebounds (13) as Blaine�s entire team (19).

Blaine started the game with energy and style, surging to a 16-8 first quarter lead, but that was answered by a 19-6 Nooksack surge in the second quarter.

Whistles blew like a convention of tugboats throughout the contest, leaving Blaine overly cautious in stopping frequent penetrations by Nookie guards Ben Vandyken and Ty Willemsen while getting stymied by Nooksack�s defense. Blaine lost the lead on John Mathews and Bruce Holz field goals to trail 21-16 and then regained it on Brendan Mulholland and Ryan Alexander lay-ups to go up by one at 22-21 with two minutes left. They wouldn�t score again until almost half-way through the next quarter.

Nooksack Valley�s experienced and savvy head coach Bill Kelly, one of the Pioneer�s biggest assets, said the key for them was defense, especially in stopping Blaine�s hot point guard Ryan Alexander, who scored nine in the first half but went pointless in the second.

Kelly said he also spread out his offense to allow his guards to dribble penetrate more easily. Between them they put in almost half (27) of the team�s 57 points while drawing a number of fouls. Jake Gilmore was tossed after his fifth foul with 3:25 left in the fourth quarter and Blaine down by only seven at 41-34.

In the end Blaine lost two more starters (Ryan Goodwin and Brendan Mulholland) to fouls as the frustrating game ticked away.

�I�ve always said Nooksack was one of the top three teams in the league,� said Blaine coach Dan Rucker. He attributed the loss to Blaine�s inability to handle Nooksack�s defense, saying that lack of ball movement, too many turnovers and foul trouble played big parts in Blaine�s defeat.

�This isn�t all bad,� said Rucker, �because you always learn from your defeats, sometimes better than from your wins.�

With the loss, Blaine dropped into second place in NCC standings with an 8-4 (7-1 NCC) record. Nooksack, deflated by league leading Mount Baker last Saturday 52-40, ran their record to 9-4 (6-3 NCC) to leap-frog below third place Meridian and into a tie for fourth in league standings with Lynden Christian.

Split with Nooksack
Blaine�s split with Nooksack last Friday showed a format that will hold for the seven regularly scheduled games remaining for each team until the playoffs, where Blaine�s two basketball teams play the same school on the same day, one at home and the other away. The exception is the weather re-scheduled Mount Baker games, set for last night (girls) and Saturday night in Deming (boys).

Next year, with a new five team Whatcom County League replacing the defunct NCC, each county AA school will play the other four teams three times.

Borderites wrestle at Lynden Invitational, 15 Barracudas make their way to Everett

Borderite wrestlers lost their final home match of the season to a tough Meridian squad 49-26 last Thursday in the Ken Waters Gym.

Last Saturday Blaine participated in the 13-team Lynden Invitational and got two wrestlers into the semifinals in a tough and experienced field. Heavyweight Anthony Terris, at 275 pounds, was decisioned by Sam Zylstra from Nooksack, and Nick Jordan was decisioned in the 130-pound class by Orting�s Rick Shattuck.

Blaine Barracudas
The Blaine Barracudas wrestled in the Northwest Novice League championships on Saturday, January 17.

Fifteen wrestlers made the trip to Everett high school, and six took away the first place medals in their respective divisions: Josh Fakkema, peewee division; Caleb Johnson, midget division; Tony Jordan and David Craig, novice division; and Jacob Humphrey and Jeremy Holdaas, schoolboy division.

Taking second were: Chance Kevwitch, bantam division; Luke Christianson, midget division; Justin Woods, and Josh Jones, schoolboy division; and Jesse Kithau, cadet division. Taking third were: Justin Belding, midget division; Brandon Johnson, novice division; and Alex Pennington, schoolboy division. Brendan Schmidt of the bantam division took fourth.

The next stop for the Barracudas is the Folkstyle State Tournament at Bellingham high school this weekend.