by Jack Kintner
Lady B’s get into the groove after desert
The Lady B’s went to the desert over Christmas break and came back a changed and more cohesive team.
“The kids did a lot of growing up,” said a pleased head coach Rob Adams of the trip, his head still in the clouds after one of Blaine’s most exciting basketball games in many years last Saturday in which Blaine defeated triple-AAA Squalicum by one point, 58 to 57.
Yes, this is the girls team, and yes, the win they had last Saturday was only their first league victory, but what a win it was, in front of an understandably if regrettably empty gym. Up until this point in the season this young team of two seniors, a junior, four sophomores and three freshmen were playing like a bunch of disorganized cats in a room full of rocking chairs.
But no more. The day after Christmas Adams took his girls to the Cactus Jam in Tempe, Arizona, home of the Arizona State Wildcats.
They played three games, beginning with a team from Lafayette, Kentucky, that had just defeated the number 15 team in the country. Adams pulled Hendrickson, the core of the offense, just six minutes into the contest and for the rest of the girls it was sink or swim. They ended up playing the taller Kentucky girls (whose starting five is 6-4, 6-1, 6-0, 5-10 and 5-8) even for much of the first half and held them to the narrowest winning margin of any of the other tournament teams.
Their second and third games were close; they held the lead over powerhouse Colony of Palmer, Alaska, with just three minutes to go before drifting into a narrow loss, and pushed Fieldstone of New York into double overtime before losing for the third time. But role players, especially Bailey Richardson and Kellee Harbst, matured like fine wine in the process, Harbst marking three straight double-doubles in the heady competition.
Ferndale had embarrassed the Lady B’s badly a week before they left town, so badly the girls were getting teased in the hallways by other students. The next home game after their return would be against Squalicum, a team that had beaten Ferndale decisively.
Blaine started out on a dead run, Alyssa Hendrickson scoring on a pull-up jumper and then a trey from well beyond the three-point arc, and by halftime they led a surprised and frustrated Squalicum by five points.
After the half Squalicum came out on a 6-0 run to take the lead by one, and for the rest of the second half the teams traded punches like welterweights.
biggest of Bailey Richardson’s
five points came with 1:35 left when she walked to the free throw line and
sank two pressure free throws to put Blaine
up by one. Squalicum scored to go back up by one and Blaine missed,
and so was forced to foul with 27 seconds
left, giving Squalicum a 1 and 1 at the foul line and a possible three
But the first shot bounced off and the rebound went to Blaine. Adams called timeout at half court with ten seconds left and on the inbounds play wisely anticipated Squalicum coach Scott Wilson’s switch to a man-to-man defense.
got the ball into Harbst who dished it off to Hendrickson,
who was fouled with just 8.1 seconds left. Hendrickson
sank both of her free throws to give her 20 points on
the night and Blaine a one-point lead.
Squalicum took the ball out, brought it up court and called another time out with just 2.1 seconds left. The in-bounds play went to senior Stephanie Ebbesen, whose 11 second half points had kept Squalicum in the game.
She launched a long arcing jump shot with just over a second left that seemed headed straight for a buzzer-beating win but instead the ball jammed in between the hoop and the backboard with a solid ker-chunk, as if frozen in time.
When the buzzer went off a half second later it was Blaine who got to be delirious at mid-court, it was Blaine who got to pound backs and scream, it was Blaine who won with the secrets they learned and the friendships they made and brought home from the desert.
Significantly, Blaine had just six turnovers in the game and out rebounded Squalicum 40 to 28, only nine of which were second chance offensive rebounds. They shot a confident 17 for 23 freethrows, including 8 of 9 down the stretch run for the win.
They’re off on a great adventure, these kids. Your next chance to see them play here will be on Tuesday, January 23, when they’ll host the triple A Sedro-Woolley event at 7:30 p.m.
Humphrey beaten in overtime at King of the Valley
Humphrey, taking a break for the second meet in a row
from the 112-pound wars by competing up a weight class
at 119, lost his championship match in sudden-death overtime
to Squalicum’s Erik Tuttle
8-6 at the Nooksack King of the Valley tournament January
The close contest helped put Squalicum into first place for the team title and Blaine into a strong second out of the nine teams competing.
The Borderite wrestlers were led by Shane Hicks (189 pounds) with three quick wins, all by pin, to move him to a record of 18-1 on the young season. Mike Broyan (130) and Niko Rehon (160) also won their weight classes.
Two days earlier Blaine scored an unusual shut out over Meridian 76-0 in the second of three home dual meets to be held this season – the next and last is against Bellingham on January 25 – to run its season record to 3-0.
The contest was one-sided in part because the short-handed Trojans forfeited eight of the matches, but Blaine also won all but one of the remaining contests by pin as promising newcomer D.J. Duncan (125), Mike Broyan (130), Tyson Foster (135), Brian Brock (140) and Darrell Price (189) all mashed their opponents into the mats with pins. Jacob Humphrey (119) major decisioned Harris Larson, throwing him around like a big frisbee to score an impressive 24-11 win.
The Borderite season continued at the two-day Joe Beam Invitational at Sehome in Bellingham, where Humphrey, back in his own 112 class, along with Hicks and Rehon all won their classes. Blaine finished third behind Squalicum and Mt. Baker.
Blaine travels to Anacortes Thursday night January 18 and to Deming on Monday January 22 before hosting Bellingham next Thursday, January 25.
The two-day conference meet begins the day and then sub-regionals, regionals and the state meet in Tacoma come on successive weekends.
Borderites slip a notch in first three games
The Borderites’ hardwood fortunes for the season slipped a notch in their first three games this month as they dropped a road game during winter break to Bonney Lake by nine, 52-43, then bombed Lynden Christian at home 57-46 before making a dismal showing against admittedly strong Nooksack, led by the irrepressible and ageless Bill Kelly whose patented zone defense comes with a snooze button for the opposition.
In the Bonney Lake game Blaine just couldn’t catch up after posting a 24-12 halftime deficit despite Justin Kirkwood’s having found the range from the three-point arc where he got all of his nine points.
Joey Paciorek got his ninth straight double-double (ten or more points and ten or more rebounds) with 10 points and 12 rebounds.
Lynden Christian came to town on January 5 after losing to Meridian by just seven points to a Borderite crew that took over the gym, running around the taller, clumsier Lyncs at will as if they were playing capture the flag in the tall timber. Paciorek recorded his tenth straight double-double and the fleet and deceptive Alex Bresnan sank two long three point bombs like daggers in the heart.
As a testament to their energy the Borderites out rebounded the Lyncs 32 to 19 despite giving away what looked like several inches in height at each position.
As it was, the Lync star, 6’7” Kevin Burgers, got his share of the scoring but along with the rest of the team was out hustled by the B’s, who played as well as the famous and unequaled Borderite Pep Band.
Kelly brought in his stifling zone on Tuesday of last week and snuffed the Borderite offense like Roundup on dandelions. After the first quarter Blaine’s offensive output was just three points, and for the game they shot a microscopic 22 percent from the field. They might have done better blindfolded.
Blaine went up against triple-AAA Squalicum in Bellingham last Saturday, the same night the Lady B’s beat Squalicum at home by one point, and simply got out-matched by a team that had three players score 20 or more points, including 10 three-point shots.
The boys, now 4-7 (1-3 league), played at Mount Vernon after press time but are at home Saturday, January 20, against 4-7 Meridian.
Games postponed by weather
Weather problems have added the following to the published schedule as make-up games and matches:
• The Lady B’s away game against Nooksack Valley has been rescheduled to Monday, January 22, C and JV teams play at 5:45 p.m. and the varsity plays at 7:30 p.m.
• The Lady B’s home game against Mount Vernon has been rescheduled to Monday, February 5, JV plays at 5:45 p.m. and the varsity at 7:30 p.m. The C game has been canceled.
• The January 11 dual meet at Mt. Baker is now set for Tuesday, January 23. The bus leaves Blaine high school at 4 p.m., weigh-in is at 5 p.m. and the match begins at 6 p.m. Blaine has canceled out of the Saturday, January 20, Lynden Invitational.
Borderites on the web
For the sixth consecutive year, Blaine high school’s video production students will broadcast two basketball games live on the internet. On Saturday, January 20, the boy’s game between the Borderites and Meridian Trojans will be on the air. The girl’s webcast will feature the game with the Lynden Lions on Tuesday, February 6.
Students will provide play-by-play, color commentary, and sideline reports in addition to the three cameras following the action and prepared analysis of the match-ups between the teams.
This year’s webcast is being hosted by the Hardlines Company (www.hardlines.com) in Bellingham. Students are seeking sponsors to offset the cost.
The game can be viewed on Windows or Macintosh computers by using QuickTime 7 Player, a free Apple download at www.apple.com/quicktime/products/qt/. Older versions of the player will not access the stream.