The Blaine boys basketball team finished a three game home stand by storming to a 58-48 non-conference victory over Granite Falls Saturday, December 18.
Andrew Price erupted for a season high 29 points to lead all scorers in the game. He yanked down 14 rebounds to register yet another double-double as the 6–6 junior post man has emerged as one of the dominant players in the Northwest conference.
“He’s adding some post moves to his game,” said Blaine head basketball coach Dougal Thomas in an email. “He’s doing a good job of catching the ball and is developing a nice offensive game. The sky’s the limit for him.”
Unlike the previous two games, however, Price was not a solo act as eight Borderite teammates logged into the scoring column, with Todd Bird chipping in nine. In a game that the Borderites led from wire to wire, they needed every bucket as Granite Falls’ Jackson Phelps gouged Blaine for 28 points which included splashing four three-pointers.
“We are learning how to get Andrew the ball and trusting him to find his teammates when they are open,” Thomas continued. “Andrew is going to consistently draw double and triple teams this year, which means he needs to find his teammates and they need to knock down open shots.”
Only four other Borderites scored in their Northwest Conference (NWC) opener against Mount Baker on December 16.
“We are really working to find ways to get Todd Bird more involved at the offensive end of the floor,” Thomas explained, “and have some plays in the works designed to isolate Todd and Price on one side of the floor.”
With four players scoring in double figures, led by Zach Stalin’s 17, the Mountaineers, who finished 8th in 2A last season, hammered Blaine 73-54. It was the second consecutive loss to a state tournament contender.
Price finished the game with 25 points, his season high for the season at the time, and nine rebounds. Sean Allen registered his season high with 10 in the game.
Despite a competitive first period, the Mounties ran away from Blaine, moving out to a 14-point lead at the half. The lead ballooned to as much as 25 in the second half as Mount Baker cruised home for their first conference victory.
Where transition defense was a struggle in the Burlington game, against Mount Baker, the Borderites were plagued by perimeter defensive struggles as the Mountaineers nailed nine three-point baskets including five treys by Addison King.
“They were very good,” Thomas commented. “Stalin and Tanis inside are both a year better and it showed with their performances against us.”
The split left the Borderites 2-6 (0-1 in the NWC) going into a road tilt with 3A Sedro-Woolley Tuesday, December 21. As the Borderites move into the heart of the conference games, they can look back on the conferences’ most difficult schedule and see improvement.
Blaine has played two more games than anyone else in the conference. Where several teams have played only four games thus far, the Borderites have logged eight.“We are coming along nicely,” the coach reflected. “Obviously, we all would like to have a few more wins. That being said, the kids are buying into how we need to play to win. We still have a lot of work to do but with kid’s help, I know we will continue to improve as the year progresses.”