The boys basketball team put forth a well-rounded display of basketball skill to crush Nooksack Valley, only to be similarly crushed by Anacortes the next night.
The team looked proficient against Nooksack Valley at home January 6. They shared the ball and hit their shots on their way to a convincing 88–53 win.
The Northwest Conference (NWC) matchup was a constant highlight reel for Blaine fans as three Borderites scored in double digits for the first time this season, and the team tallied a season high of 15 assists.
“We’re getting better at sharing the ball and running plays,” said head coach Shaun Pile. “That’s definitely the best we’ve seen out of this group so far.”
Josiah Westbrook scored 37 points, including four 3-pointers, scoring on 13 out of 17 attempts from the field. He also doled out a game high of eight assists. Sean Herrig scored 20 points including four 3-pointers, and Shaq Woods scored 10 points while leading the team in rebounds with eight boards.
Blaine jumped out to an early lead with a fast-paced offense that never let up. By the end of the first quarter the score was 23–12, and by halftime the Borderites were ahead 46–23.
“We played up-tempo and shot a lot of 3-pointers,” said junior varsity coach Lydel Eidenbrood.
With Blaine’s perimeter shooters making half of their 3-point attempts, Nooksack Valley was forced to spread its defense. That allowed Westbrook to drive to the basket at will, and the team was able to pass the ball around and find post players Woods and Jon Fakkema open under the basket. Fakkema scored five points and hauled in six rebounds.
Blaine scored another 23 points in the third quarter, bringing the score to 66–38. In the fourth quarter, scoring went back and forth as Blaine put up 19 points to Nooksack Valley’s 15.
As a team, Blaine shot 54 percent from the field – a major improvement over earlier games. Fakkema said experience gained from playing strong shooting teams such as B.C. Christian Academy over Christmas break might have inspired the team to shoot well.
“It felt good to kick the ball out and see shots falling in,” he said.
Eight Borderites put points on the board, proving what Pile has believed all season long: his team can shoot.
“That was more like it,” he said. “Everyone accepted their role. They did a great job remembering set plays and getting it done on offense. It’s nice to see them hitting their shots, too.”
Herrig had a spark and caught fire in the second half, scoring all four of his three-point attempts. Ben Hodgin drove to the hoop three times in the game for six points.
On January 7 Blaine traveled to Anacortes and wound up on the losing side of a similarly uneven game.
“They brought it to us,” Pile said. “They out-hustled us and outworked us, and we couldn’t handle the pressure.”
Westbrook scored 22 of Blaine’s 43 points. The Borderites committed 25 turnovers on their way to a 88–43 loss.
“We couldn’t find anyone else who wanted the ball besides Josiah [Westbrook],” Pile said. “It’s one of those games we need to put behind us and move on from.”
With the win against Nooksack Valley and the loss to Anacortes, Blaine has a 1–2 conference record and a 4–6 record overall. The Borderites will take on the Bellingham Red Raiders at home in a NWC matchup Thursday, January 9. The game starts at 7:15 p.m.