Blaine’s boy’s basketball teams has won two games this year. Squalicum’s team has won two consecutive state championships. While the fab five that brought those trophies to Whatcom county has moved on, the program continues.
Despite playing an aggressive first quarter that saw the Borderites hold three leads early, the Storm showed that they still have a quality team as they pressured Blaine into 21 turnovers and nailed 12 three-pointers to blowout the Borderites, for an 86-50 Northwest conference (NWC) victory on Squalicum’s senior day, Monday, January 31.
Everyone on Squalicum’s active roster played and scored, with four players scoring in double figures led by Travis Kurtz who scored 19, including three treys.
A competitive first quarter saw Blaine shooting crisply and playing physical defense, blocking three shots in the first stanza. Two early lay-ins to Andrew Price and a Sean Allen jumper posted Blaine to an early 6-2 lead.
An Allen three ball recovered the lead at 9-7 before Squalicum started to pressure the Borderites.
“I thought we played with them for the first 12 minutes of the game,” commented Blaine head basketball coach Dougal Thomas in an email, “the thing that I continue to stress to our players is sustaining that effort over 32 minutes.”
On the next three consecutive trips, Blaine committed turnovers that the Storm converted into five points, a lead that Squalicum held to the first quarter break.
“I thought we had some turnovers at key moments and that was definitely the difference in the first half, “ lamented Thomas, “we did a poor job in transition defense.”
Blaine drew within three early in the second on baskets by Chase Speelman and a rebound follow-up lay-in by Price. However, Squalicum went on a 13-2 run to close out the half, spurred by three pointers by Kurtz and Bryce Dickerson, holding a 42-25 lead at the break.
The Borderites struggled out of halftime, going one for eight to start, while Squalicum ballooned the lead to 55-30. By the time Blaine found its second half legs, the game was out of control. The Storm splashed eight of the 14 three-pointers they attempted in the second half as they cruised to the easy win.
“I think we’re all frustrated,” summed up Thomas, “2-16 isn’t fun and it doesn’t feel good.”
Once again, Price was the focal point of Blaine’s offense, leading all scorers with 21 points and grabbing nine rebounds for the Borderites. The loss dropped the Borderites to 0-11 in the NWC. Blaine travels to Lynden to face the Lions Friday, February 4 at 7:30 p.m.
Photo by Blaise Bookout