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Jan. 5, 2005

Depleted JV Blazers blown out at home

by Michael Bushnell, Page Editor

Over Winter Break, the JV squad saw four of their top players get called up the varsity team, reeling with a 1-6 record themselves. While the call up may have been necessary, it left the JV team with a bare bones and depleted group of players not nearly resembling the lineup that got this team off to a 6-1 start. Instead the Blazers looked outmatched for all 32 minutes in a 56-36 home thrashing at the hands of the Springbrook Blue Devils.

After another rough home defeat prior to Winter break, Blair's varsity boys basketball head coach Orlando Larracuente promised that he would call up the best from the impressive JV squad for an early shot at the big time.

Over the last two weeks, Larracuente has called up Mark Clarke, Sam Francois, JayDee Encarnacion and Rich Chavez; four of the six most frequently used players.

Blair (6-2) said hello to two demoted ex-varsity players, Alex Brown and Edwin Joyner, but they did little to fill the void left by the four that left. Brown was scoreless with just two rebounds, while Joyner had six points and six rebounds. However, most of Joyner's rebounds were offensive boards from his own close misses, and he also picked up four fouls.

The lack of Chavez and Francois inside was deeply damaging to the Blazers, as they gave up 15 offensive rebounds, and were physically dominated by the bigger Springbrook (5-1) team.

JV head coach Richard Porac echoed that sentiment of his team, saying after the game that "we got killed on the boards; we were just out boxed.”

Porac attributed many of the problems to the gutting of his team, which has become like a minor league team for the varsity club. "Our team is completely different from the one that started 6-1,” he lamented.

Brown and Joyner moved into the starting lineup, and team struggled, scoring just 11 points in the first quarter. Ironically, that was their highest quarter point total of the game.

"We had three new starters tonight,” Porac noted, "and we still need to make a lot of new adjustments. With all the talent we've now lost, it's a big adjustment to make after just five practices” over break.

The Blue Devils got balanced rebounding, with Eric Johnson and Marcus Cotton bringing down eight boards each. Cotton played just three quarters, and was unable to be stopped by Blair's defense, scoring 23 points. He had 21 of Springbrook's 35 points at halftime.

"Springbrook showed that they were the more dominant team tonight,” Porac said. Micah Perry added to the Devil attack with 12 points, while Eddie Sin did anything but his last name tonight, scoring 11 points, while snaring four rebounds.

The coach said that the rebounding totals explain clearly why the game was such a rout. "We got outscored 40-10 in the paint,” Porac commented. Most of Cotton's 23 points came in the painted area, as the Devils hit just four three pointers.

Cotton scored the first nine Blue Devil points of the second quarter, part of a quarter that Springbrook won 23-10, putting the game nearly out of reach at halftime, with the Devils ahead 35-21. The game was sealed when the Blazers scored just four points in the third quarter. With the Devils up 50-25 at that point, all their starters were pulled for good.

Porac said that with all the new roster changes, Tori Patton and Matt McLain, the two mainstays of the big six Blazers to still be on the roster, will be seeing the ball inside more often. "Tori and Matt have got to step up and be leaders now,” Porac stated.

McLain had three blocks and two points, while Patton scored six while bringing down four rebounds. Che Larracuente led the offense with seven points and six boards, while getting called for just one foul.

The blowout gave both teams a chance to play some less-used reserves, something Porac waited to do until the last half of the fourth quarter. "All these guys work hard in practice,” he said, "but it's hard to give everyone a lot of time with so many guys at every position. We have four point guards.”

The roster is different from the last six games, and the result was very much that way as well. As he headed back out onto the Kobren Gym floor after the game, he said that, with this new roster, "it's almost like starting a whole new season.”

Can the team ever recover?

"I hope so,” Porac said. "Only time will tell.”

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  • d on January 5, 2005 at 5:42 PM
  • ANGRY SENIOR on January 6, 2005 at 12:12 PM
  • kiara (View Email) on January 10, 2005 at 7:20 PM
    thats okay mabey next time yall can actually win something
  • dang on January 10, 2005 at 9:30 PM
    give the rest of the team some credit you don't become 6-1 with two people gimme a break
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