The Blaine girls basketball team won a physical game at home against Mount Baker in the first round of the Class 1A District Tournament on February 4, earning a trip to King’s High School in Shoreline on February 6. The result of the Kings game was not available at press time.
Previously, the Borderites defeated Burlington-Edison in their last regular season game 48-41. That game showcased a stellar defensive effort led by juniors Olivia Olason and Rhianna Breedlove. Sophomore Mandy Hayes and junior Alexis McElwain led the Borderites in scoring, with 18 and 14 points respectively.
The win against Mount Baker highlighted Blaine’s multiple scoring threats, as sophomores Taylor V’Dovec and Breanna Chau
scored a combined 37 points for Blaine.
Hayes, who has scored an average of 17 points in the last five games, was held to three points, and McElwain, who has averaged 12 points in the last five games, was held to four points, but Mount Baker couldn’t contain V’Dovec and Chau.
“We’re not a one-dimensional team,” head coach Ryan Pike said. “When someone’s not producing, someone else steps up. Tonight, Taylor and Breanna stepped up.”
V’Dovec scored 25 points and hauled in 13 rebounds – her third double-double of the season. Chau scored 12 points, including two three-pointers. Mount Baker’s defense targeted Hayes and McElwain, who were the primary offensive threats against Mount Baker when the two teams met on January 21. The focus on Hayes and McElwain allowed V’Dovec and Chau to get shots off from all angles, as they scored from beyond the three-point line, from mid-range and with lay-ups. Chau earned herself three trips to the free-throw line with aggressive drives to the basket.
On the other side of the court, Blaine played a matchup zone defense that forced Mount Baker to take outside shots. Mount Baker’s Emily Brandland looked comfortable from the perimeter, scoring four three-pointers on her way to a team-high 16 points. Hayes and Chau executed a half-court trap that consistently forced Mount Baker to rush its offense, leading to 14 Mount Baker turnovers.
After one quarter, the score was 15-0 Blaine. Despite a second quarter role-reversal in which Blaine scored one point to Mount Baker’s 13, the Borderites posted a decisive 46-32 victory over the Mountaineers, bringing their winning streak to nine games.
Like many post-season contests, the game against Mount Baker became increasingly physical. Girls on both teams dove on every loose ball, drove hard into defenders under the basket, and stood firm on defense to try and draw the offensive foul. By the end of the game, Blaine had 14 team fouls and Mount Baker had 10. After the game, Chau and V’Dovec seemed to be comparing bruises on their knees.
“It was definitely a physical game,” Chau said. “It got a little rough, but we just had to come out with a lot of energy and play hard.” High-energy and intensity will be a key to success in the post-season, Chau said, adding that the team is looking forward to their next game at King’s High School in Sehome.