by Jack Kintner
Blaine successful at holiday tournaments
Blaine’s wrestling team continued its juggernaut through the season with stellar performances at two holiday tournaments, the Vashon Invitational on December 29 followed by the Bearcat Invitational at Chehalis last weekend.
At Vashon, where Blaine finished third out of 10 teams entered, Shane Hicks (215 pounds) was the lone weight class winner for Blaine but his gold proved to be enough for the team bronze.
Blaine also spent time on the podium with two second place finishes, two thirds, two fourths, four fifths and one sixth place.
At Chehalis, top-ranked Jacob Humphrey (119) won his weight class and his third tournament championship of the season with a third-round pin of Adam Smith of Tillamook, Ore. He was joined by Jesse Kilthau (145) who got his first tournament victory of the season with a late pin as well, nailing River Ridge High School’s Mark Ford in the third round. With ten other wrestlers placing highly enough to add points Blaine brought home the fourth place trophy from Chehalis.
The biggest home dual meet of the year is coming up Thursday night, January 10, when Larry Leper brings his Mount Baker Mounties to Blaine.
This year it’s Blaine who has the undefeated league record that Mt. Baker will try its best to spoil. The meet gets underway at the high school gym with preliminary matches at 5 followed by the varsity meet at 7 p.m.
Blaine boys beat Lynden Christian, still undefeated in league
One game does not a season make, but the Borderites’ adroit handling of an improving Lynden Christian squad, which they throttled like Homer does Bart, and in the snake-pit LC gym, and in the closing seconds of the game, will almost do, thank you.
Connor Oldham and Nate Tewalt combined for 55 points boosted by their nearly 80 percent shooting from the charity stripe. Alex Bresnan led in assists (5) and three-point shots (1) for Blaine, and Jason Green led both teams in rebounding with 8, where as a team Blaine had nearly a 3-2 edge. Frustrating LC even more was Blaine’s much cleaner play, the B’s getting called for fouls just 16 times to LC’s 24, the Lyncs loosing both Evan Scholten and Zack Blok to fouls late in the game.
LC made it close, getting within two points of Blaine with less than two minutes to go, but once again they self-destructed, done in ultimately by fouls and turnovers.
Blaine, now 3-6 on the season but as of yet undefeated (1-0) in league, hosts undefeated Squalicum on Friday, January 11, in the high school gym.
Lady B’s drop 2 with Lynden and Nooksack
Two single-A teams, undefeated Lynden Christian and the 6-4 Nooksack Pioneers, took the measure of Blaine and then some in handing the Lady B’s crushing losses by a total of 124 points to Blaine’s 63.
The Lyncs came to town last week and with Blaine shooting a cold 22 percent from the floor laid a 60-25 pasting on the Lady B’s, their defense containing all but the most brazen attempts to get the rock into the hoop.
Tough and resourceful guard Kristen Elsbree was high point for Blaine with just seven points, and as a team Blaine managed just 7 of 41 attempts while the Lyncs offense steamrollered its way along to the easy win.
Tuesday night Blaine suffered an equally disheartening 64-38 loss to Nooksack. While a tenacious and tough new zone defense held Nooksack’s ace scoring machine Erika Ramstead to just two of her normal seven to ten points in the first half, little Ashley Lambert more than made up for it by potting five shots from beyond the three-point arc, one more than Blaine’s entire effort.
Still, the game wasn’t the runaway the girls had been put through by LC, as they kept within single digits of Nooksack until late in the first half. But gradually the better ball sense and superior poise of the Pioneers told on the Lady B’s, and with typically lackadaisical officials tending to call fouls on the less experienced and less graceful team Blaine found itself digging a familiar hole.
Kristen Elsbree led Blaine scorers with 17 points. Blaine, with an 0-3 league record (3-8 overall) next goes on the road against Squalicum on Saturday, January 12, and Mount Vernon on Wednesday, January 16 before returning home to face Meridian on Friday, January 18.
For the week of January 3
Nooksack 64, Blaine 38
W F West Tourney, Chehalis: Tillamook, Ore., (237 points), White River (211), W.F. West (205), Blaine (165.5), Yelm (149), R.A. Long (119), Camas (95), Tenino (70), River Ridge (68.5), Timberline (43), North Thurston (34), Centralia (27) and Fife (25).