BLAINE - The Blaine boys' basketball team fought back from a 10-point deficit but it wasn't enough as it lost 52-47 to Granite Falls in the Blaine Holiday Classic on Saturday, Dec. 29, at Blaine High School.
Jericho Probadora provided the needed spark off the bench in the second half for the Borderites and led the attack with seven fourth-quarter points in what would be the closest game - win or lose - for Blaine.
Probadora scored 13 points in Blaine's win over B.C. Christian Academy in the team's previous game Friday, Dec. 28.
"My teammates encouraged me to be open and they kept feeding me the ball and it just kept going in," Probadora said. "We fought hard in the second half and fixed our mistakes, but we were sloppy in the first."
Neither team made a field goal in the first 3 minutes and had a combined 20 turnovers in the first half, 11 of which were from the Borderites.
Blaine struggled offensively in the first half and was held to nine points in the second quarter.
"It was another slow start for us and we were very sloppy and dug ourselves a 10-point hole," Blaine coach Shaun Pile said. "Granite Falls did a good job playing a matchup zone and it confused us."
Blaine was held to only three field goals in the second quarter as Granite Falls took a 31-21 lead at halftime.
Pile made the necessary adjustments in the second half and Josiah Westbrook and Probadora caused the rest of the team to be more aggressive.
Probadora scored a total of nine points in the game.
"I can't wait for (Probadora) to get hot one day," Pile said. "He can really shoot the lights out. Once he scores one, he gets confident and can really shoot the ball."
Pile said the big difference in the second half was the team realized that it was more than looking at x's and o's and strategy, and more about having basketball instincts and breaking down Granite Falls' defense.
Josiah Westbrook and Zach Rector led the Borderites with 12 points each and Rector led the team with 10 rebounds.
Blaine's defense really solidified in the fourth quarter when it held Granite Falls to 0 field goals. It did allow 10 free throws, though after 15 second half fouls.
Blaine heads into the rest of the regular season 3-7, 1-2 NWC and will travel to Bellingham on Thursday, Jan. 3, in a Northwest Conference game.
"We need to make sure we come out and are ready to play all four quarters, not just two," Probadora said. "The games are only going to get harder and this one just prepares us for the next one."
GRANITE FALLS 52, BLAINE 47
Granite Falls 15 16 11 10-52
Blaine 12 9 13 13- 47
Granite Falls: Brandon Leitzke 12, Riley Larson 9, Evan West 8, Dan Matalomani 16, Nick Elvrom 1, Karl Spencer 6, Steven Hyvarti 0. Team totals: 18-49 11-24 52.
Blaine: Josiah Westbrook 12, Isaiah Jackson 2, Jericho Probadora 9, Cole Muder 0, Ivan Sanchez 2, Gabe Trump 7, Tas Scanlan 0, Ryan Wallen 3, Zach Rector 12, James Fakkema 0. Team totals: 16-47 13-23 47.
3-pointers: Granite Falls 1 (Leitzke), Blaine 2 (Probadora, Trump 1). Rebounds: Granite Falls 30 (Larsen 9), Blaine 34 (Rector 10). Assists: Granite Falls 10 (Larsen 3), Blaine 10 (Westbrook 3). Fouls: Granite Falls 14 (none), Blaine 21 (none). Turnovers: Granite Falls 15, Blaine 17.