Blaine couldn’t quite pull off an upset over No. 3-ranked White River, but in defeat the Borderites displayed just how far they’ve come since the season began.
For a team that started with a 1-9 record and one of its senior stars nursing an injury for most of the year, to be down a possession to the Hornets with less than two minutes to play certainly impressed Blaine coach Ryan Pike.
“They left it all out there,” Pike said, “and that’s what we asked them to do before the game happened.”
The Borderites rallied back from a double-digit, fourth-quarter deficit to put a major scare into White River, but Blaine couldn’t make the plays it needed to in the final minutes and took a 60-51 Class 2A State Tournament regional round loss Saturday, Feb. 28, at Puyallup High School.
Breanna Chau scored 12 of her team-high 18 points in the fourth, Taylor V’Dovec finished with nine points and six rebounds while dealing with foul trouble and Mandy Hayes chipped in eight points.
The loss brought an end to the careers of Barb Pocus, Mikayla Deming and star trio Chau, Hayes and V’Dovec.
The threesome reached at least the regional round of state every year, capturing a fifth-place finish last winter.
“Amazing. I wouldn’t trade it for anything,” said Chau of playing varsity with Hayes and V’Dovec for four seasons. “It’s crazy it’s over. It’s sad, but I wouldn’t want to experience it with anybody else, and I’m glad that we made it to regionals every year that we have been in high school. That’s something not a lot of people can say.”
Pike even went as far as billing the girls the best class to come through Blaine High School.
But as impressive as they’ve been, they couldn’t quite help lift the Borderites past White River, even with a fast start.
Without V’Dovec, Blaine (12-13) suffered an 81-50 non-league loss to the Hornets back on Dec. 29, but the Borderites showed no signs of intimidation this time.
Blaine raced out to a 12-10 first-quarter lead behind Deming’s four points, but the Hornets began hitting their shots early in the second.
White River used a 16-4 run to open the second and maintained a double-digit lead into the final period.
“We were down 15 or 18 in the fourth quarter, and with two minutes to go we were only down by a possession,” Pike said. “The resiliency and senior leadership that these girls have, you just can’t say enough about it.”
Blaine trailed 47-33 with 5:53 left in the game, but the Borderites refused to go away quietly. Chau scored six of Blaine’s next 11 points, as the team ventured on an 11-2 run to trim White River’s lead to 49-44 with 2:49 left.
A basket by V’Dovec pulled Blaine to 49-46 with 1:25 to go, but Hornets guard Kristin Sturdivan hit a back-breaking 3 on the ensuing possession, sealing Blaine’s fate.
“If you leave it all out there and you lose, you lose,” Pike said. “White River is a very good team. We got into some foul trouble with V’Dovec, and we just couldn’t make the plays at the right times.”
White River was led by sophomore 6-foot-1 forward Kendall Bird, who finished with 19 points and 13 rebounds, and Amanda Lance, who also finished with 19. Sturdivan had 14 with four second-half 3s.
Reach Andrew Lang at email@example.com or call 360-756-2862. Follow @bhamsports on Twitter for Whatcom County sports updates.
White River 60, Blaine 51
Blaine: Barb Pocus 0, Lyric Berry 0, Breanna Chau 18, Makayah Veliz 0, Josie Deming 4, Mikayla Deming 7, Kjirstin Larson 2, Mandy Hayes 8, Kiana Gray 2, Taylor V’Dovec 9. Totals: 14-46 19-23 51.
White River: Kristin Sturdivan 14, Ashlea Mills 0, Maci Goethals 3, Amanda Lance 19, Kayla Howard 0, Lucy Rasmussen 0, Gerogia Lavinder 0, Kendall Bird 19, Darian Gore 2, Sydney Andersen 3. Totals: 20-54 13-23 60.
3-point field goals — Blaine: 3 (Hayes 2); White River: 7 (Sturdivan 4). Rebounds — Blaine: 34 (Hayes 8); White River: 30 (Bird 13). Assists — Blaine: 3 (Chau 2); White River: 5 (Bird 2). Fouls — Blaine: 17; White River: 16. Turnovers — Blaine: 14; White River: 15.