Even as the starting line-up for the Blaine boy’s basketball team has been shuffled trying to find that right combination and rotation, fate dealt the Borderites another cruel blow.
Having just recovered from a broken bone in his hand and playing through the rehabilitation, starter Todd Bird broke a different finger in the same hand during last week’s game against Ferndale.
Bird will be out for at least three weeks. This meant that the team would have to be shuffled again after just beginning to adjust to Chase Speelman and Mario Gabboto being inserted into the line-up.
Bird’s injury meant the reintroduction of senior Sean Allen in their road game against two-time 2A state runner-up Burlington-Edison, Wednesday, January 12.
The Tiger’s Eric Walser dominated the Blaine interior scoring 22 points and yanking down nine rebounds and helping shut down the Borderites’ star center Andrew Price, holding him to only four points as the Tigers rolled to a 67-41 Northwest conference (NWC) win over Blaine.
“Burlington had a couple of big guys match up with (Price) size wise and were very active,” Blaine head basketball coach Dougal Thomas said in an email. “They also played a box and one against him, which essentially meant that he was double-teamed all night.”
In the midst of the rout however, Allen had a break-out game, leading the Borderites in scoring by dropping in 16 points.
“Sean has been shooting the ball quite well as of late,” Thomas said, “and I like to think with Todd out, he is getting a few more shot opportunities. Fortunately he is knocking some of those down. I’m proud of Sean; he has been working extremely hard in practice and I hope he can put together a nice string of games down the stretch.”
Unlike their first meeting in Blaine earlier this year, the Tigers (10-2, 4-1 in the NWC) were crisp and looked every bit the state title contender, shooting a hair under 50 percent from the field, garnering 19 assists and only committing eight turnovers.
The Borderites finished with 22 turnovers precipitated by Burlington-Edison’s three quarter pressure defense, which they amped up at the start of the second quarter and didn’t take the foot off the gas until the Borderites were well in their rear-view mirror.
Andrew Miller and Luke Feenstra added seven points each for the Borderites who fell to 2-10, 0-5 in the NWC.
Photos by Blaise Bookout