Boys drop close game with Lynden Lions
By Jack Kintner
Blaine dropped to 1-2 for the year in losing Monday night to a Lynden team that couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn unless they were at the free throw line. But once there, they couldn’t miss, shooting over 80 percent (26 for 32) from the charity stripe, using that edge to beat a game but often careless Borderite squad by just 8 points, 46-38.
“Pretty sloppy play,” said Blaine head coach Dan Rucker after watching his team almost catch Lynden in the fourth quarter before fading. Lynden was playing its first game of the season and it showed, their field goal percentage a dismal 28 percent.
This was due in large part to an aggressive and tireless Blaine defense that allowed just 46 points to a probable post-season contender.
Blaine effectively broke their press in the second half and stuck with the Lions throughout, closing to within a point at 31-32 with just four minutes left.
At that point Blaine had just four second-half fouls to Lynden’s eight, was playing with poise and momentum and had a good chance to steal the win.
But that’s when the wheels came off, in those last four minutes, Blaine got outscored 14-7, much of it at the free-throw line, fouled 6 times to Lynden’s two and had three big turnovers that pretty much iced things for the Dutchmen.
The Lions advantage was most clearly revealed in what coach Rucker calls the tale of the tape: rebounds (24 to 17), fouls (15 to 26) and most importantly in turnovers (8 to 15), some of which were a little painful, like watching the white guys play the Globetrotters.
But for the lopsided edge Lynden enjoyed in fouls and turnovers especially, it’s a game Blaine could have won. If Lynden’s scoring edge at the free throw line (19 points) is cut in half, Blaine wins on its aggressive if streaky and inconsistent play in the field. Lynden guards Blair Bomber and Trenton McKee both got just one field goal, but between them scored 21 points at the line compared to Blaine’s seven for 17 for seven points.
Blaine’s sophomore guard Todd Bird sat out the game with an injured thumb and his normally steady output was missed. Blaine just didn’t have a go-to guy that night although Odie Johannessen showed promise. It was a game played with all the clumsy expectations of a blind date, but Blaine, in showing fans its potential, can and will do better.
Johannessen got 11 points to lead Blaine, followed by Mitch Mekovitch (6), Trey Bakogeorge (5, including Blaine’s only trey), Trevor Chau (5), Jason Green (5), Jordan McCarty (4) and Greg Grasher (2). Green led Blaine in rebounding with 6.
At press time Blaine’s next opponent was scheduled to be Meridian, last year’s third place finisher in conference play who returns two of its top three scorers, Schweigert and Sebens. After that the Varsity goes to Deming on Friday, December 19, before returning home for a game against Cowichan Secondary on December 30.