The Blaine girls’ basketball team is headed to the postseason for the first time in five years, and thanks to two crucial victories this week, they will enjoy an advantageous second-place seeding.
Despite a self-proclaimed “flat” performance, the Borderites defeated Nooksack Valley 45-31 at home on Monday, February 6, clinching the number two seed in the first postseason appearance ever for the current Borderites roster.
Senior Stefawn Perrin led scoring with 13 points, including two three pointers. Freshman Taylor V’Dovec backed her up with 10 points, and sophomore Alexis McElwain grabbed a team-leading eight rebounds to go with her two points.
Despite winning by a margin of 14 points, Blaine was only ahead by five entering the fourth quarter. The Borderites secured the victory by outscoring the Pioneers 15-6 in the fourth.
Despite the victory, Blaine coach Jeremy Hinchey said there was room for improvement.
“We were a little bit flat tonight,” Hinchey said. “We had a huge win on Saturday, so I think the girls were a little bit tired. But they fought through it and earned a great finish.”
Blaine’s 39-37 overtime defeat against similarly ranked Sehome on Saturday, February 4, was also instrumental in earning the Borderites a postseason seeding advantage, a playoff factor that often goes underappreciated.
Perrin put up a game-high 16 points against Sehome, contributing nearly half of the Borderites’ final score of 39.
Freshman Breanna Chau, who finished with five points against Sehome and three points against Nooksack Valley, said it felt great to be a part of the girls’ squad this year.
“We didn’t play our best game tonight, but I’m really proud of our team,” Chau said. “We have gotten this far and we deserve it. I’m glad we could bring our program back up from the past several years.”
Chau, along with fellow freshman Mandy Hayes and V’Dovec, constitute a freshman trio that has regularly lead Blaine in scoring and rebounds this season. Along with Perrin’s experience and talent, the Borderites cruised to an impressive record of 15-5 overall, 10-3 Northwest Conference (NWC) this year.
Per Monday’s victory, Blaine will host Granite Falls Friday, February 10, at 7 p.m. in the first round of the 2A Northwest District Tournament.
The Borderites have faced Granite Falls once already this season, defeating the Tigers 61-51. An obvious focus point for the upcoming match is figuring out how to contain standout senior Peyton Spencer, who lit up Blaine for 34 points in their last outing.
“[Granite Falls] have one really, really good shooter,” Hinchey said. “They zoned the whole time and pressed a little bit, so we will be watching for that.”
Chau remembers Spencer and the Tigers as well, but said she has no worries Blaine can come out on top once again.
“We played against Granite Falls like we played tonight,” Chau said. “But if we play like we played against Sehome, Burlington and Mount Baker, then we will be good. We are going to come prepared.”