1A boys State: Blaine Overwhelms Overlake, Heads To Semis

The Blaine boys basketball team doesn’t need motivation as the Borderites continue their exciting Class 1A state tournament run. But if they did … they certainly have it now.

The sixth-seeded Borderites overran Overlake in the quarterfinals, 80-52, on Thursday night, March 2, in the Yakima SunDome.

The victory puts Blaine (18-7) in Friday’s 9 p.m. semifinals against fifth seed King’s, the same Knights who beat the Borderites by two points in Blaine’s season-opener three months ago.

Check Whatcom Hoops for the latest stories and photos from the state tournaments in Yakima.

“We’ve got a game against King’s under our belt,” said Blaine coach Nate Sullivan. “We know we can beat that team. But it’s going to be a tough job. They’re better (than they were in December). But so are we.”

The Borderites have certainly shown their improvement. They’ve won five of six playoff games — the only loss coming to top-ranked and defending state champion Lynden Christian — and they’ve done it impressively, including a three-point win over second seed Zillah on the road.

The latest victim was eighth-seeded Overlake (17-9), which won a double-overtime game Wednesday night just to get into the quarterfinals. And the Owls were no match for the hot-shooting Borderites.

Blaine shot 64 percent from the field and hit eight 3-pointers in hitting the 80-point mark for the third time this season. (The Borderites also have a 90-point game to their credit.) And if you take away the 3-point attempts, Blaine hit a scorching 81 percent of their 2-pointers.

“We just shoot open shots,” said senior Carson Lehnert, who had a game-high 19 points. “We’re playing with confidence.”

Senior Matt Russ added 17 points, including 13 first-half points mostly on his patented floater as Blaine took a commanding 13-point halftime lead that never dipped into single digits.

Junior Noah Tavis had 16 points, including a pair of 3-pointers, and senior Lucas Smith tossed in a dozen points and a pair of 3s despite having to sit much of the game with foul trouble. Russ led the way with 6 rebounds, and senior Ethan Koreski had a team-high 5 assists.

The Borderites got an extra boost in the tournament nightcap from the Lynden band. Because of bad weather on the pass, the Blaine band was unable to make the game, so the Lynden musicians took over and became Borderite fans for the night.

But no one is happier to see the Borderites’ success than Sullivan. And no one is probably more grateful than the first-year coach.

“They love each other and they love the game,” said Sullivan. “They make my job so easy. I’m blessed to have this job.”

Blaine 80, Overlake 52

Overlake            12       11       15       14—52

Blaine                20      16       22       22—80

Overlake: Brandon Douvia 7, Nathan Kang, Jake Shuey 8, Alec Odell 9, Nikita Davis 12, Muad Abdi 6, Zubin Sannakkayala, Jack Wiley 6, Jagger Schwartz, Hudson Im 2, Ashwin Chintalapati 2, Hank Davidson.

Blaine: Lucas Smith 12, Lawrence Creasey-Pulphus 4, Mathew Russ 17, Ethan Koreski 5, Josh Audette 3, Conner Dalry 4, Josiah Weeda, Jesse Deming, Alex Censale, Carson Lehnert 19, Noah Tavis 16.


At Yakima Valley SunDome

Wednesday, March 1

First round

#6 Toppenish 62, #14 Seton Catholic 42 (loser out)

#2 Zillah 80, #10 Seattle Academy 55 (loser out)

#5 King’s 72, #12 King’s Way Christian 49 (loser out)

#8 Overlake 50, #16 Lakeside (9 Mile) 46 (loser out)

Thursday, March 2

Toppenish 73, #4 Freeman 64

#1 Lynden Christian 58, Zillah 45

King’s 66, #3 Annie Wright 63

#7 Blaine 80, Overlake 52

Friday, March 3

Consolation games

Freeman (21-3) vs. Zillah (23-3), 12:15 p.m. (loser out)

Annie Wright (23-2) vs. Overlake (17-9), 2 p.m. (loser out)


Toppenish (20-6) vs. Lynden Christian (24-2), 7:15 p.m.

King’s (18-6) vs. Blaine (18-7), 9 p.m.

Saturday, March 4

Consolation game

Freeman-Zillah winner vs. Annie Wright-Overlake winner, 9:30 a.m. (winner fourth, loser sixth)

Consolation final

Toppenish-Lynden Christian loser vs. King’s-Blaine loser, 1 p.m. (winner third, loser fifth)

Championship game

Toppenish-Lynden Christian winner vs. King’s-Blaine winner, 5 p.m. (winner first, loser second)

Jim Carberry of Whatcom Hoops

Jim Carberry is a former Bellingham Herald sports editor and author of several books on Whatcom County prep basketball. Follow him on Twitter @whatcomhoops and visit the Whatcom Hoops Facebook page.

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