Coming off a strong win against Bellingham, the Blaine girls basketball team got out-hustled in a physical game against conference-leading Ferndale, losing 52-33 despite keeping it close well into the third quarter.
The January 7 Northwest Conference (NWC) loss brings the Borderites’ season record to seven wins and five losses, with a NWC record of two wins and three losses.
The two teams were fairly well matched except in shooting percentage, where Ferndale made just over half of their field goal attempts, and Blaine shot for 29 percent. Blaine committed 20 turnovers to Ferndale’s 15, got 24 rebounds to Ferndale’s 27, and stole the ball nine times to Ferndale’s 14.
Both teams committed seven fouls during the game, an impressive figure considering how physical the game was.
Every shot was contested. Every pass grazed the fingertips of vigilant defenders. A string of more than three dribbles was a
rare occurrence, as the defense from both teams quickly stopped the ball and forced a pass.
“[Ferndale’s] full-court press slowed us down, but Mandy [Hayes] and Breanna [Chau’ did a good job taking care of the ball,” coach Ryan Pike said.
Solid post defense from Ferndale’s Linsey Honeycutt and Kendra Bodger forced Blaine to take outside shot attempts. Fortunately, Blaine’s three-point shooting was on target: Hayes made three of seven attempts, and Chau made two of five attempts.
Sophomore Blaine post Taylor V’Dovec managed to score eight points despite Ferndale’s inside defense, with nimble drives to the hoop, a nice jump shot, and two good free throws.
Both teams were even on turnovers and rebounds in the first half, but Ferndale overpowered Blaine with fast break lay-ups and baskets made from offensive rebounds. The score at the end of the first half was 25-18 Ferndale.
Blaine chipped away at the seven-point lead in the third quarter, bringing the score to within four points through tight defense that led to steals and heads-up passing that led to lay-ups.
But in the fourth quarter, Blaine’s energy seemed to wane as Ferndale pulled away. The Borderites tried to up their aggression, but made mistakes in the process. About this time, Chau dove for the ball and caught a knee in the stomach that knocked the wind out of her, and V’Dovec got hit in the face, causing her to leave the game.
“It was a physical game,” Pike said. “We got beat on fast-breaks and put-backs, and even though we battled back to within four points in the third, our goal is to not be down by 10 points at the start of the fourth, and we weren’t able to do that.”
Pike said the Ferndale game was a mirror contrast to the Bellingham game on January 3, in which the Borderites were the aggressors. Blaine came out strong against Bellingham and didn’t relent the whole way through, winning 58-31 in the Northwest Conference matchup.
“We played hard against Bellingham,” Pike said. “The girls executed really well. Taylor [V’Dovec] had 23 points, and Breanna [Chau] and Olivia [Olason] both played really well on defense.”
With the win over Bellingham and the loss against Ferndale, the girls are in the middle of the pack – seventh out of 13 teams – for 1A girls’ basketball standings.