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Dec. 18, 2005

After furious rally, boys basketball falls just short

by Michael Bushnell, Page Editor
Dec. 16, NELSON H. KOBREN MEMORIAL GYMNASIUM-

If the Blair Blazers boys basketball team wanted to know what was worse: a blowout loss or a close one, they were exposed to both feelings this evening. It was a game that made both teams nervous, both teams angry afterwards, and Blair wondering why they had to come back from such a huge deficit to begin with.

After a shocking comeback from a 19-point deficit in the fourth quarter, Blair was unable to complete the rally against the Northwest Jaguars, falling at home 55-53.

Down 48-29 after the third quarter, Blair cut the deficit by 17 points in six minutes; then Petros Fentahun tied the game at 53-53 with 40 seconds left. But Blair's defense couldn't force one more stop, as Northwest (2-1) point guard Eric Johnson hit a running lay up on the baseline with nine seconds left to give the Jags the lead.

Fentahun took the ball coast to coast on the final possession for Blair (1-2) as everyone in the gym cheered with nervous anticipation. The senior forward, who had been on a roll in the last few minutes, apparently missed seeing two wide open teammates inside the three-point line to whom he could have passed the ball.

Instead, Fentahun shot an off-balance three-pointer with about five seconds left that missed off the front of the rim. Larry Johnson rebounded the ball for Blair, but his desperation jumper at the buzzer fell short.

After a 10-minute post game meeting with Blair coach Orlando Larracuente, Fentahun left Blair seemingly disappointed. A furious 24-5 run in seven minutes to tie the game, where he contributed 11 points, fell just short. The co-captain was blunt about his frustrations.

"There shouldn't be nothin' to say; we lost," Fentahun said. "To comeback and lose by two points doesn't feel right. It's disappointing." He also said that Northwest's Mike Creef, who guarded him on the final shot, hit him in the face.

"I got hit right there at the end," Fentahun said. "Everyone saw that hit; he hit me right in my chin, and I didn't get a call. We worked and the ref didn't let us finish the game fair; he screwed us," Fentahun said.

Junior co-captain Muhammad Roberson agreed, saying "the refs basically disrespected us at the end."

Blair was forced to make this rally in the first place because they played three quarters of generally sloppy and streaky basketball. At the start of the game, both teams were plagued by giveaways and fouls. Northwest got themselves together, however, and scored the last 13 points of the frame to lead 16-7. Blair fell behind 22-7 with four minutes left in the first half.

After Larracuente called timeout, the Blazers began their first run, a 9-0 stretch that cut the deficit to six points. After trailing 30-23 at halftime, Blair played terribly at the start of the second half, and the Jaguars went on a 14-2 run in the first two minutes of the third quarter.

Down 19 points, after three, Blair began their furious and stunning rally. The Blazers cut the deficit down to eight points in the first three minutes by getting to the free throw line and making shots. They also forced four Jaguar turnovers in that time, and the crowd that had been silent suddenly came to life.

While the rally fell painfully short, Roberson called it "a learning experience." He added that Blair needed to be less selfish. "We started out slow, and everyone wanted to be a star. I think we learned that we were too sloppy."

Fentahun said that the Blazer bench got discouraged too easily when they fell behind in the third quarter, making the comeback even harder than it had to be. "Everyone was putting their head down; I said to them, `come on! This is still a game!' Nobody had any confidence."

Larracuente, who was unavailable to speak following the game, did clap for his players' effort in the team huddle after the final buzzer sounded. Roberson said that the coach "said we had a lot of effort, and that we're still a great team." Indeed, there are 19 games left; a long time to work out the problems that plagued the Blazers at the start tonight.

Fentahun led Blair in scoring with 19 points. Jacob Wade and John Orr both had 11 points, and Johnson added nine. The Blazers were impressive from the foul line, making 11 of 14 attempts. Blair played with a giant rotation; 14 players got into the game tonight.

Northwest only played nine guys, and Wes Parker anchored the balanced offense with 15 points. Martin Fernandez and Eric Johnson had 11 points each.





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  • upset spcial on December 18, 2005 at 5:47 PM
    referees don't lose games. even if they did miss a call in the final seconds, it's not an excuse. blair had plenty of other chances to score earlier in the game.
    blair looked very sloppy for three quarters. if they can play the way they played during the fourth quater for the rest of the season they have a shot at being pritty good.
  • unfair on December 18, 2005 at 7:24 PM
    The senior forward, who had been on a roll in the last few minutes, apparently missed seeing two wide open teammates inside the three-point line to whom he could have passed the ball.

    That is unfair to editorialize petros' decision. He was by FARRRRRRRRR our best player, espexcially in the fourth quarter. He was on a roll, and we needed his leadership. I also herd that petros got moved to JV after the game. This makes about as much sense as playing basketball with a tennis ball.
  • petros be fryin on December 19, 2005 at 12:35 PM
    pet-pet was the only reason we were in the game
    stop tryna say he messed up at all
    i heard he got moved to jv but that is crap
  • Michael Bushnell (View Email) on December 19, 2005 at 3:07 PM
    I'm not editorializing it, and I certainly was not trying to make him seem like an idiot. He had 11 points in that rally, and ignited that whole comeback. I was just describing the final play; thats how it happened, and anyone there would tell you as much.

    I hope he didnt get sent down, that'd honestly make no sense.
  • in the game on December 19, 2005 at 3:51 PM
    It probably was a bad shot pet took but he had the hot hand and that is the person who should of shot it
  • da man (View Email) on December 20, 2005 at 10:30 AM
    Petros is going to bounce back watch it s only the start of the season
  • MEMPHIS on December 22, 2005 at 4:48 PM
    Yo check'm out tonight against blake
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