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Dec. 16, 2016

Blair girls basketball triumphs over Walter Johnson

by Neva Taylor, Staff Writer
Blair's girls basketball team (3-1) beat the Walter Johnson Wildcats (1-3) 50-40 in a close game Wednesday. Both teams relied heavily on a fast-paced offense. Walter Johnson had a lead in the first and second quarters due to their strong offense and the Blazers lack of defense, but the Blazers pulled ahead during the second half and never looked back, winning the game by 10 points.

Without senior point guard Allison Mackenzie, Blair had a tough time in the first quarter. The game started off with rapid shots fired by the Wildcats, tacking on points throughout the first quarter. Blair struggled on defense in part because they got into foul trouble. Many of Blair's offensive opportunities were taken away by Walter Johnson's tight man-to-man defense.

Junior Sara Temple, starting guard for the Blazers, thought that the team had a lack of intensity in the first half. "We weren't thinking about what we were doing. We needed to take a breath," she said.

The Blazers had many of the same troubles in the second quarter; Walter Johnson had a strong defense and was able to put the ball in the basket on offense while Blair struggled defensively. Half way through the quarter junior Marc Monteil caught a long pass from sophomore Nina Boggan and had the first break of the game. Although she didn't score she was soon followed by junior Aissatou Bokoum who made the putback. Junior L'Shana Cobey put up a strong defense against the Wildcats in the second quarter, contributing to the Blazers upswing in momentum right before halftime. Temple was happy with her team's ability to bounce back. "We learned from our mistakes and made up for lost time" Temple said.

This offensive intensity set the tone for the rest of the half. Blair ran a strong man to man defense, blocking shots and grabbing rebounds. The Blazers used their height to their advantage in the second half. With an increase in energy the Blazers were on top at the half by the score of 26-22.

Captain Lauren Frost led her team in the second half, scoring nine points, including a beautiful three pointer from the right wing in the fourth quarter. The Blazers never lost their momentum from the end of the first half, and they kept the lead the entire second half. At the end of the third quarter Blair held a seven point lead. "In the second half we made some adjustments defensively and we really denied the heart of their team #3. We had some growing pains in the first half but thankfully it only took a half to learn," coach Haley Hollis said.

Blair had a 12 point lead going into the last minute of the fourth quarter but the Wildcats tried to mount a comeback, scoring five points in 20 seconds, bringing them within seven of the victory. Despite this last effort to overcome Blair, the Wildcats fell short and Blair won 50-40.

Coach Hollis was proud of her team. By noticing the faults during the first half, she was able to adjust her defensive strategy, switch a few players and finally get the energy level up. "We were down our star point guard and I think that rattled our team a little during the beginning. We picked it up though and allowed our defense to really spur on our offense," Coach Hollis said. Hollis hopes they can keep winning during their next couple games as they face a tough stretch against some good teams.

The Blazers play Poolesville at Blair on Friday, Dec. 16.

Lauren Frost is the entertainment editor for Silver Chips Online



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