Blaine Boys Learn Lessons In First Loss

The inexperienced Blaine boys basketball team learned some valuable lessons in its 59-46 non-league loss to visiting Archbishop Murphy on Saturday night, Dec. 2.

“We learned we have a group of guys who don’t quit,” said Blaine coach Nate Sullivan, whose squad fell to 1-1. “They just kept playing. I was proud of them.”

Having lost seven seniors to graduation from a team that took third in the Class 1A state tournament last March, the Borderites knew there would be a lot of learning this season, especially early in the schedule. Last Tuesday, they learned how to win a close game, beating Friday Harbor in overtime.

But Saturday was a different opponent: the Wildcats, who are expected to be in the hunt for a 2A state berth. And one thing the Borderites learned is that you can’t have one bad quarter and expect to beat a good team.

“It’s a whole new squad this year so it’s a new experience for everybody,” said senior Conner Dalry, who led Blaine with 13 points. “We played well, but we learned our shots have to fall, we’ve got to keep playing D, and we have to stay out of foul trouble.”

Dalry summed it up well. While the Borderites outscored and outplayed Archbishop Murphy in three of the quarters, a disastrous third period doomed them. That’s when Blaine’s shots didn’t fall, they failed to play good defense, and they got into foul trouble.

All that turned into a 28-8 period that the Borderites couldn’t recover from.

“We’ve got to keep rebounding the ball,” said Sullivan. “We did it in the first half. Then the ball stopped going in the hoop (for us).”

Joining Dalry in double figures were senior Noah Tavis, Blaine’s only returning starter, and junior Josiah Weeda, each of whom finished with 12 points. Senior Justin Minjarez added 7 points.

Ira Smith led the Wildcats (2-0) with 20 points, and the Wildcats took advantage of Blaine’s foul trouble to shoot 20 free throws to the Borderites’ six. 

Still, Blaine fought back, holding the Wildcats to seven points and outscoring them in the final period.

“We could have easily laid down,” said Sullivan. “But they’re all soaking up these experiences. We have a lot to work on, but we have a high ceiling.”

Blaine hits the road for its first Northwest Conference game at Bellingham on Tuesday.

Archbishop Murphy 59, Blaine 46

Archbishop Murphy    12      12      28       7—59

Blaine                          16      10        8     12—46

Archbishop Murphy: Belleza 4, Usui 12, Sievers 10, Ir. Smith 20, Blanchard 6, Blackwell 5, Sears, Shoker, Schnarre 2, Rife, Joplin, Is. Smith.

Blaine: Nevarez, Kanagie, Minjarez 7, Bleazard, Ihde, Dalry 13, Dohner, Weeda 12, Deming 2, Ndateba, Tavis 12, Melton.

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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