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Feb. 5, 2005

Blazers dominated again at home by Sherwood

by Michael Bushnell, Page Editor
FEB.4 NELSON H. KOBREN MEMORIAL GYMNASIUM

It has been a season to forget for the Blair Blazers boys' varsity team, and while tonight showcased promising new talent, the game was the end of a disastarous week in a long season for this squad. The visiting Sherwood Warriors went on a 17-4 run in the second quarter and never looked back, blowing Blair out at home 75-55.

The Blazers (2-14) were plagued by turnovers from start to finish in this game. It seemed like every time Blair would stop the Sherwood offense, they would squander the chance to capitalize on their end thanks to some sloppy mistake; be it a bad pass, an errant step on the out-of-bounds line, an offensive foul, etc.

To make matters worse for Blair, the Warriors were deadly accurate from three-point range, and their passing schemes exploited the Blair defense for 42 points in the first half. Blazer coach Orlando Larracuente kept shouting at his team to "stop getting messed up off” the quick passing, but their accuracy was too much for the Blazers to control.
Larry Johnson (35) attempts a three-pointer in his first varsity game of the season Diana Frey
Larry Johnson (35) attempts a three-pointer in his first varsity game of the season


The one pleasant surprise for Blair was the first game of the year for sophomore guard Larry Johnson, who was immediately put in the starting lineup and chipped in with 12 points. But his contribution was more memorable tonight for the numerous no look passes he tried; some successful, some not so much.

His raw talent was evident tonight, as he hustled for rebounds and appeared genuinely excited to play. During the third quarter, his no-look pass that resulted in an easy lay-up for senior swingman Jacob Wade had the whole coaching staff smiling and cheering, despite the lopsided score against them.

Johnson and sophomore center Ross Williams were the unlikely leaders on offense for the Blazers, leading the scoring with 13 points each. Williams hit three three-pointers to rack up his offensive numbers. He also was 4-6 from the free throw line. Keenan Myers, Blair's most consistently good player this season, struggled, picking up three personal fouls in the first quarter. The senior forward finished with just five points on the nigh.

Sherwood blew the contest open early, by extending their lead to 18 halfway through the second quarter, thanks to a 17-4 run. The Warriors led 42-22 after the first half, in which they appeared to outplay the home squad on nearly all fronts. Eric Morales ran the point for the Sherwood attack, dishing four assists during the run that put the game away early.

Sherwood's guards carried the offense, with Deontay Twyman scoring 18 points and Ben Everett 17. The Sherwood scoring attack was not balanced per se, as only six players scored in the first half. When the lead got to 25, most of the bench players saw significant garbage minutes in the third and fourth quarters.

The Warriors had numerous fast break chances that they converted tonight. Even with a flubbed dunk by Charles Hill, Sherwood scored 18 fast break points. They also scored over a dozen second chance points and were aggressive getting to the line, shooting 20 free throws on the night. Their only real problem this evening came from loose ball fouls, of which they committed five in the first half.

In the third quarter, Williams hit a pair of threes for Blair to cut the deficit to 15; the closest Blair got in the second half. But after a Warriors time out, they went on a quick 10-0 run to squelch any thought of an incredible Blazer rally from a team that has made up large deficits more than once this year.

By the end of the fourth, however, Sherwood had emptied their bench, and Larracuente handed the head coaching duties to assistant Shareef Hashim. During a time out late in the game, Larracuente sat on a chair while Hashim diagramed a play in the huddle.

The disappointing defeat capped off an especially rough week for the team. On Wednesday, Blair allowed 92 points at home to the Blake Bengals in a 33-point loss. The team's next game comes in five days on Wednesday, Feb. 9 at Richard Montgomery. The Rockets were forced to forfeit their 70-58 win on Jan. 11 here at Blair because they used an ineligible player.



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