LYNDEN - Mount Baker sophomore post Emily Yost admitted she had "no idea."
Neither did coach Brenda Ellis.
How can a team possibly win a game in in which flirts with the Mendoza Line from the field and turns the ball over 25 times?
The Mountaineers found a way on Thursday, Dec. 27, during the first day of the Cloud 9 Sports Lynden Christmas Classic at Lynden Christian. Despite going 12 for 57 (.210) from the field and struggling to hold on to the ball, Mount Baker emerged with a 38-30 victory over Bellevue Christian.
"It wasn't real pretty, but a win is a win," Ellis said. "We didn't play our best, but we'll take it."
Despite scoring the game's first 10 points and jumping out to a 13-5 advantage by the end of the first quarter, a win was the last thing on the mind of the Mountaineers (5-4) during the second quarter.
All they wanted two days after Christmas was a basket - any kind of basket.
Mount Baker didn't get one from the floor, as it went 0 for 8 in the quarter.
As if that weren't enough, they Mountaineers turned the ball over six times in the quarter and missed their first three free throws.
In fact, if Taylor Leger had not made the second of her foul shots with 24.6 second left in the quarter, the Mountaineers would have been blanked in the period.
Fortunately, Bellevue Christian didn't fare much better, as the Vikings went 3 for 15 from the field in the second and 5 for 22 in the first half and actually trailed Mount Baker 14-12 at the break.
"We had a big talk at halftime about playing with more energy and doing the things we needed to do to win the game," said Mount Baker sophomore Emily Yost, who finished with a double-double with 16 points and a game-high 15 rebounds.
With their offense obviously struggling, the areas the Mountaineers instead decided to focus on were rebounding and defense.
Led by Yost, Mount Baker owned the glass, out-rebounding the Vikings 49-29. In addition to Yost, Leger and Korrinna Camacho each chipped in six rebounds.
Defensively, the Mountaineers forced 27 turnovers. Eighteen came via the steal, including five each from Emily Brandland and Camacho, who also a game-high four assists and four points in her well-rounded stat line.
"We just needed to focus on the things that we could control," Yost said. "I mean, when your shooting is off, like ours was today, you have to focus on the things that you can control. I think our defense and our rebounding were really big for us."
Bellevue Christian managed to take its only lead of the game when Ashley Osborn hit a 3-pointer 50 seconds into the second half, but Mount Baker rolled off eight straight to take a 22-15 advantage, when Yost hit a pair of free throws on a technical foul, Jessa Baisden and Brandland hit back-to-back layups and Baisden later skipped her way to another lay-up with 3:36 left in the third.
Mount Baker built its lead to as many as 13 points with 4:03 left in the fourth, before Bellevue Christian rolled off nine straight to pull with 31-27 with 1:45 to play. But all the Vikings would manage the rest of the way was a 3-pointer from Osborne - her fourth of the game.
The Mountaineers, meanwhile, got a pair of free throws from Baisden, Brandland and Yost and 1 of 2 from Emma Lallas to put the game away.
"Sometimes you have days where you're going to struggle, and you just have to find a way to get a win," Ellis said. "We talked a lot about that at halftime. We wanted to come out aggressive on defense and win the boards, and I think we did a good job of that, especially in the second half."
Mount Baker next faces Cascade Christian at noon on Friday, Dec. 28, in the second day of the Classic, while Bellevue Christian will face Lynden Christian at 5 p.m.
Reach David Rasbach at firstname.lastname@example.org or 360-715-2286.
MOUNT BAKER 38, BELLEVUE CHRISTIAN 30
Bellevue Christian 5 7 6 12 - 30
Mount Baker 13 1 10 14 - 38
Bellevue Christian: Ashley Osborn 16, Allie Vitalone 2, Jessica Butler 0, Noelle Crosby 5, Shelby Hall 2, Paige Knight 5, Rachel Williams 0, Emily VandenBrink 0. Team totals: 12-48 1-5 30.
Mount Baker: Emily Brandland 5, Jessa Baisden 4, Taylor Leger 3, Emma Lallas 4, Korrinna Camacho 4, Jordan Fleming 0, Emily Yost 16, Rayedeen Engels 2, Emma Leigh Cline 0. Team totals: 12-57 13-21 38.
3-ptg: Bellevue Christian 5 (Osborn 4), Mount Baker 1 (Yost). Rebounds: Bellevue Christian 29 (Crosby 7, Knight 7), Mount Baker 49 (Yost 15). Assists: Bellevue Christian 3 (Osborn, Crosby, Knight), Mount Baker 6 (Camacho 4). Fouls: Bellevue Christian 20 (Vitalone, Knight fouled out), Mount Baker 14. Turnovers: Bellevue Christian 27, Mount Baker 25.
Reach DAVID RASBACH at email@example.com or call 715-2271.