Blaine’s Big Three enjoyed some welcomed help in the fourth quarter and it bodes well for their state regional chances in girls’ basketball. Junior guard Makayah Veliz came off the bench in the fourth quarter to shoot 3 for 3, for six points during the Borderite’s 18-point surge on the way to a 55-39 win over Sehome for third place in the Class 2A Northwest District Tournament on Saturday, Feb. 21.
Both teams are headed for the state regional round the weekend of Feb. 27-28. They will learn their opponents, site and time on Sunday, Feb. 22.
“Veliz had not scored for us yet in the tournament, but she has been a very reliable substitute,” Blaine coach Ryan Pike said.
Veliz opened the fourth quarter with a sweet running drive on the baseline for a 39-30 lead. Maddy Bryan, who led Sehome with 16 points, scored on a layup but Blaine then dominated the rest of the way.
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Senior point guard Breanna Chau, who shot 7 for 9 for 15 points, scored on two consecutive drives to give the Borderite’s a 43-32 advantage. That was Blaine’s biggest advantage in the game at that point.
After Devin Grahn hit a 3-pointer with 4:40 left, Kjirstin Larson hit a pair of 3s for a 47-37 lead. Then came one of the sweetest plays of the game — a nifty pass from freshman Josie Deming to her sister, senior Mikayla Deming for a layup to make it 49-37 with 3:15 left. Josie Deming then scored on a layup to remove all doubt.
Blaine (12-12) which started the season 1-8 is now 11-4 in its last 15 games. Sehome, which opened the year 3-10 is now 9-15, but has won six of its last 11 games to earn its first regional spot since 2012.
In addition to Chau’s 15 points fellow seniors Taylor V’Dovec and Mandy Hayes scored 12 apiece. This will be the fourth consecutive state tournament for those three girls, including last year’s fifth-place trophy in Class 1A.
“It was always a goal of ours when we were freshman to make state all four times. But we hope to get out of regionals like we did as freshman and juniors,” Chau said.
Blaine coach Ryan Pike said he was confident in Blaine’s ability to rally after Sehome tied it with three minutes left in the third quarter at 29-all on Bryan’s two free throws. Chau took a pass from V’Dovec, Hayes drove for a bucket, Kiana Gray took a pass from Hayes and V’Dovec hit a 10-foot shot.
“We have a play that really works well and we executed it really well,” Pike said. “We did well, we were a little sluggish in spots, but to win by 16 against a quality opponent was a strong showing. We are going to roll the balls out and see what happens.”
He was reminded he needs four games to go.
“Oh that’s right, we just want four more games,” Pike said.
The young Mariners’ regional hopes were bolstered by six 3-pointers including three by Madison Ulrich and two by Megan Bayless. Ulrich took only four shots but turned three of them into three pointers.
Blaine 55, Sehome 39
Sehome: Jenny McIntyre 0, Maddy Hooker 1, Maddy Bryan 16, Gina Eisses 0, Megan Bayless 6, Bailey Meyer 0, Samantha Hruby 2, Madison Ulrich 9, Devin Grahn 6, Sarah Eisses 1, Marina Wright 0, Emma Clark. Totals: 11-34 11-12 39.
Blaine: Barb Pocus 0, Lyric Berry 0, Breanna Chau 15, Makayah Veliz 6, Josie Deming 2, Mikayla Deming 2, Kjirstin Larson 4, Mandy Hayes 12, Kiana Gray 2, Taylor V’Dovec 12, Lauren Kordas 0. Totals: 25-48 1-4 55.
3-point field goals — Sehome: 6 (Ulrich 3); Blaine: 2 (Chau, Hayes 1). Rebounds — Sehome: 18 (S. Eisses 5); Blaine: 30 (Hayes 7). Assists — Sehome: 3 (No leader); Blaine: 10 (Chau 4). Fouls — Sehome: 6; Blaine: 18. Turnovers — no information provided.