Aggressive Blaine Girls Take Down Bellingham

To the victor go the spoils, the saying goes, but in high school basketball, the spoils often go to the aggressive, which the Blaine girls proved by beating Bellingham, 53-30, in both teams’ Northwest Conference opener on Tuesday night, Dec. 5.

The veteran Borderites used their pressure defense to force the young Bayhawks into too many turnovers and forced shots especially in the second half when Blaine turned a six-point halftime lead into a comfortable victory.

“Their aggressive nature,” said Bellingham coach James Wolverton when asked the difference in the game. “We looked totally young. We played a good first half and lots of girls got to play. But we had a lot of turnovers.”

That the Bayhawks (1-2) looked young is no surprise since their nine-girl roster has no seniors and only one junior. The Borderites countered with four senior starters who have been playing on varsity since they were freshmen and who weren’t afraid to be assertive on both ends of the court.

“We emphasize hustle,” said senior Deja Dube, who ran the offense and finished with 12 points, 9 rebounds, 4 assists, and 3 steals. “It was a good first game for us.”

Technically, it was Blaine’s second game but their first game was really only a half because the Borderites were forced to leave Friday Harbor early to catch the ferry. They also left with a 28-10 victory last Tuesday.

But against Bellingham, the Borderites put together a complete game. As usual, Dube and her senior partner Jordyn Vezzetti led the aggressive charge with Vezzetti adding 17 points, including three 3-pointers, 6 rebounds, and 6 steals.

But it was another Dube who led Blaine in scoring. Teia Dube, Deja’s freshman sister, had 12 of her game-high 19 points in the second half. She also had 8 rebounds and 3 steals.

“They anchor our team along with Jordyn,” Blaine coach Vic Wolffis said of the Dube girls. “They want more, and you can always count on them.”

For Teia, playing with Deja, Vezzetti, and fellow seniors Millie Berkeley and Alia Ball was nothing new since they’d all played together on summer teams. But this wasn’t youth or even select basketball; this was Blaine varsity.

“It’s exciting to play with the older girls,” said Teia, looking at her sister to be sure she wasn’t insulting her elders. “I’ve played with them when my Mom coached them. We were ready for this game.”

For Bellingham, sophomore Alexyce Evans was playing her first game of the season due to an injury and she made it a memorable debut. She came off the bench to hit two 3-pointers and finish with a team-high 12 points.

Junior Malia Hanks had all seven of her points in the first half when the Bayhawks kept pace with the Borderites and also collected 4 assists and 3 steals. Sophomore Mary Lockhart added 6 rebounds for the Bayhawks..

Blaine will try to continue its winning ways when the Borderites host Cascade (Everett) on Thursday. Bellingham is off until Saturday when the Bayhawks host Nooksack Valley.

Blaine 53, Bellingham 30

Bellingham       6       10        5       9—30

Blaine               8       14      15     16—53

Bellingham: Jude 2, Ask 3, Manning, Hanks 7, Hall, Hudson, Jensen 2, Lockhart 4, Evans 12, Morell.

Blaine: Ritter Von Trautmann, Vezzetti 17, Berkeley, Ball 2, Bring 3, D. Dube 12, Berentzen, T. Dube 19.

NOTE: Thanks to Whatcom Preps for additional stats.

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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