Despite a revived fourth-quarter effort, Blaine could not overcome Lynden Christian’s devastating outside shooting, falling 66-54 in a Northwest Conference boys’ basketball matchup on Monday, January 2, at Lynden Christian High School.
Lynden Christian outscored Blaine 30-0 from the perimeter.
“If their threes were cut in half, we could have tied,” Blaine head coach Dougal Thomas said. “Guys that I haven’t seen make [three-pointers] were making shots multiple times out there.”
Junior forward Isaac Reimer led the Lyncs with five of the team’s 10 total three-pointers. Reimer would finish with a game-high 23 points and a team-high seven rebounds.
“I knew that Reimer was going to do his thing,” Thomas said. “He was a little bit of a mismatch problem for us, being as big as he is.”
Blaine’s big three, Chase Speelman, Andrew Price and Dejan Stefanovic, all turned in solid performances, scoring 51 of the Borderites’ 54 points. Unfortunately, only four Borderites scored Monday night.
Luke Feenstra added the remaining three points. Lynden Christian spread their 66 points between nine players total.
Price led the Borderites with 20 points and a game-high 12 rebounds. Speelman followed close behind with 17, and Stefanovic added 14 points.
“I thought our guys’ effort was phenomenal,” Thomas said. “That’s the best effort we’ve given since our third or fourth ballgame.”
Thomas has a point. Normally prone to fourth-quarter meltdowns, the Borderites instead tightened up their defense in the final period Monday and were able to earn some turnovers off of half-court traps. While not enough to win, the defensive effort did seem to stymie the Lyncs’ aggressive offense at times, and Blaine was able to turn a 15-point deficit into a 12-point deficit within a few minutes near the end of regulation.
Thomas said such aggressive defense is preferable, but not always an option, as Blaine lacks the personnel to maintain such a high-energy level of play while keeping their big guys on the floor.
“We’ve been working on [defensive press], to have something for this situation. I think it will be something that we pull out here and there,” Thomas said. “The thing is; if we play the way we are supposed to play, we’ll never get in that position. I’d like to see us use the press here and there, but not as a comeback tool.”
The loss drops Blaine to 1-2 in conference play and 3-7 overall. The Borderites next face Ferndale at 7:30 p.m., on Thursday, January 5, at Ferndale High School. Ferndale shares Blaine’s conference record of 1-2, but boasts an overall record of 8-2.