Grapplers continue undefeated streak in Ellensburg
By Jack Kintner
Blaine kept its unbeaten streak intact last week at 6-0 (4-0 in conference) with a decisive 41-15 win over Squalicum at home. Then, over the weekend, the team split in two, sending some to the Joe Beam Invitational in Bellingham and others to the Ray Westburg Invitational in Ellensburg.
In the dual meet there were some close victories to seal the win as well as a couple of valiant losses, including the persistent and tough A.J. Pieczynski (152 pound weight class) who lost a close match to Squalicum’s best wrestler, Levi Johnson, 7-4 after staying close through the match, and Jacob Martinez (160), who lost a heartbreaker to Andrew Murry. Martinez came back from a ten-point deficit to tie the match in the last 5 seconds of the third period at 12 with a take-down, only to lose when Murry got a reversal in literally the last second of the match to win 14-12.
Flu knocked out Jacob Humphrey (119) so coach Craig Foster chose to forfeit in 112 and send Nick Barnes (119) against Eladio Elias, who beat him in a match narrower than the score indicates 11-7.
Blaine won the remaining ten matches, some of them by the narrowest of margins. Jeremy Holdaas was up by just two points, 2-0, for most of his match. At the end he went up by one and prevented a last second two point escape by Sean Hagerty to win 6-5 when Hagerty executed his move out of bounds.
Three Blaine wrestlers won by pin, including Shaypher Hendricks (103) in 1:05, Tyson Foster (145) in 1:08 and Darrell Price, Jr., (285) with just nine seconds left in the match.
Foster was entertaining as usual, his long legs and arms giving him a can opener kind of leverage. “I don’t have the bulk,” he said, “so I use my leverage to advantage when I can.” He did, and was done in just over a minute.
Tony Jordan (125) and D.J. Duncan (130) both got major decisions of 21-1 and 9-1 respectively. Jamal Mallak (135) and Camden Nix (140) both beat skilled opponents by identical 6-3 scores. Nix was sent up against Nick Foldenhour to give him higher seeding in district and regional tournaments to come. He ended up switching classes with Foster.
After Martinez’s last second loss Blaine’s victory march resumed, with Alex Pennington (171) outpointing Tim Barron and Shaffer Hicks (189) doing the rag doll toss on Nick Frazier before subduing him 4-1.
At Ellensburg’s Ray Westburg Invitational on Saturday, January 17, Borderite Darrell Price (215) beat hometown wrestler Josh Cole 9-3 to take the title in his weight class. Both Shaypher Hendricks (103) and Alex Pennington (171) finished second in their classes, while D.J. Duncan (130), Tyson Foster (140) and A.J. Pieczynski (145) got thirds and Tony Jordan (125) got a fifth place.
Blaine, despite not bringing the whole team, still finished fourth in the ten-team tournament.
Two more Borderites won their weight classes competing at the Joe Beam tournament on the same day at Sehome high school in Bellingham. Jacob Humphrey recovered from the crud to win at 125 as did the consistent Jeremy Holdaas at 215 pounds.
Conference crossover tournaments next occupy the undefeated Borderites on January 22 and 31 at locations to be announced.
Borderites make valiant effort against Tigers at home
Blaine came out strong and stayed with the 9-1 Burlington Tigers last week at home but could not stop two sophomore guards, Molly Breckenridge and Kristine Thoe, who together scored 34 points as the Tigers took the Borderites 66-37.
The 5’2” Breckenridge threw in 6 treys from all over the back court and seemingly couldn’t miss the hoop. For Blaine, the tenacious and scrappy Kristen Elsbree got all three Borderite three pointers and ended up with 11 points.
Sophomore guard Libby Moore put in 9, Jordan Oldham got 5, Freshman guard Stefawn Perrin got just 3, guarded closely all night by Thoe and Breckenridge playing tag team. Gabriela Avena scored 3 and Bailey Richardson was stymied by the tiger defense and ended up with 2 points as did Tessa Baker and Payton Steinbach.
The Tigers’ edge was especially evident in rebounding, where they got 32 to the Lady B’s 19, lead by Jordan Oldham’s 6 boards.
The loss left Blaine at 4-5 (1-2 in conference). After a road game at Ferndale on Tuesday night they next play at Sehome on Saturday, January 24.
Two days earlier the Lady B’s put on a clinic for Meridian, winning by 30 points, 72-42 at home. Star performer Kristen Elsbree poured in 25 points, including four treys, and Bailey Richardson got 11 points and a game-leading 11 assists for a double-double.
Coach Jeremy Hinchey praised the two for stepping up and taking over the game. Blaine led in assists (21-5), rebounds (38-26) and three-pointers (7-4).
The top Borderite rebounder was sophomore Libby Moore with 7, and Elsbree’s four treys tied Meridian’s Bree Park for game honors. Others who scored included Stefawn Perrin with 9, Gabriela Avena and Libby Moore with 6 points, Payton Steinbach with 4 and Alex Hendricks-Hockey; Jordan Oldham and Tessa Baker, all with 2 each.
For the week of January 16
1/16 Burlington 84, Blaine 37
1/14 Blaine 72, Meridian 42
1/16 Burlington 66, Blaine 37
1/20 Ferndale 50, Blaine 45
1/15 Blaine 41, Squalicum 15