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Feb. 10, 2016

Blair girls varsity basketball canít handle Springbrook

by Charles Lott, Online Features Editor
The Blair Blazers (9-8) lost Thursday to the Springbrook Blue Devils (5-10) 53-54. Blair went up early in the first half, but the Blue Devils fought back and grabbed the lead in the fourth quarter. A late comeback attempt by Blair brought the game within a point, but were unable to pull out the victory.

In the early going, the Blazers used their size advantage on the offensive glass, sophomore center Nora Olagbaju came down with four rebounds in the first quarter alone. The team turned them into second chance points, with junior forward Lauren Frost and senior point guard Camille Estrin each scoring four points.

Blair went into the second quarter with an 11-7 lead. The Blair bigs continued to dominate inside, with sophomore center L'Shana Cobey blocking two shots and junior forward Elizabeth Cove blocking one. The team also continued to make fast break points, with Estrin and junior guard Allison Mackenzie running the floor to dish it to Frost, who scored another six. Springbrook managed to keep it close thanks in part to a number of made free throws off of Blair fouls. The Blazers retained their four point lead, and went into the half up 25-21.

According to Olagbaju, the team performed well in part because of their experience with playing against Springbrook. "We started the game off with intensity, hustling to grab steals and rebounds, partly because we were confident because we had beat this team before," said Olagbaju.

The Blue Devils went on a scoring streak to open the third quarter, putting in four unanswered buckets, but were finally stopped by more strong play from the Blair bigs. Olagbaju grabbed another two offensive rebounds, putting one back for two points, but it was only a matter of time until Springbrook got back on the front foot. The Blue Devils got hot from distance, hitting three from beyond the arc at the tail end of the third. The quarter finished with Blair down by four, 37-41.

The Blazers got out of their funk in the fourth quarter, but had no answer for the three ball. Springbrook hit two more, giving them a commanding lead, and Blair's layups couldn't keep up. With 45 seconds remaining in the game, Blair was down by five, forcing them to foul. The Blue Devils were unable to convert on all but one of their free throws, and Estrin grabbed a rebound and ran the court to hit a buzzer beater three, but it was too little too late. The game ended with a score of 53-54, Blair losing by a single point.

According to head coach Carlos Smith, Blair performed adequately on offense but were shaky when it came to stopping Springbrook's scoring spree. "The team executed better than last week, and knocked down some open jump shots, but the defense needs work. We allowed too many open jump shots and allowed them to get to the basket a little too easily, so that's what we have to correct moving forward," Smith explained.

Cove sees improvement in the Blazers' game, but acknowledges that there is still a lot of room for improvement. "We played a lot better throughout the game, but when it came down to it we just couldn't execute our shots in the late going, which is the reason we couldn't come back." The Blazers hope to get back in the win column on Tuesday against the Kennedy Cavaliers.

Editor's Note:
Camille Estrin is the Sports Editor for Silver Chips Print



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