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Dec. 26, 2005

Strong second half seals win for boys' varsity basketball

by Michael Bushnell, Page Editor
DEC. 22, NELSON H. KOBREN MEMORIAL GYMNASIUM-

The Blair Blazers have started this season with drama and frustration. But while the team still does some head-scratching things namely, getting two technical fouls before the game starts tonight's victory illustrated another important fact: they're a better team than last year.

Blair played smart, aggressive basketball in the second half, and cruised to a comfortable 62-53 win over the Blake Bengals. The win was their second of the season, matching last year's total and providing a positive note headed to winter break.

After trailing at halftime 25-24, Blair (2-3) took control of the game in the third quarter because they committed just four turnovers; avoiding the same problem that did them in last week in a loss to Northwest. Jacob Wade added 12 of his 14 points tonight in the second half, and Ross Williams' two three-pointers late in the fourth quarter helped seal the victory.

In the locker room following the game, coach Orlando Larracuente praised Blair's effort in slowly pulling away from Blake (1-4). The team "showed great effort in the second half," he said, as the team literally applauded their work. In another contrast from last season, most of the team stayed in the locker room long after the game ended, laughing and cracking jokes.

Larry Johnson, who had five points, including an important three-pointer in the fourth quarter, gave credit to Wade and Ross Williams. "They had great games tonight; we really worked hard for this one."

Blair struggled to shoot well from the floor in the first half, but they avoided a high volume of turnovers. Flashy passes, including one from Petros Fentahun under the basket that fed Johnson in traffic, seemed to connect more often than in previous games.

In the fourth quarter, Blair went on a 9-0 run to give themselves a 14-point lead. They never separated themselves beyond that, but the Bengals were unable to put together a serious rally. The closest Blake got in the fourth was down four points, but Johnson and Williams connected on three-pointers to seal the win.

The Blazers have shown more aggression this year and continued that trend tonight. They drew 18 fouls, and shot 20 free throws, a season high. What likely troubled the coaching staff were not necessarily the 23 fouls Blair committed, but the two that they were called for even before the opening tip.

Blake's James Wish shot four technical foul shots before the start of the game because Blair dunked the ball twice during pre-game warm ups. According to high school rules, any dunk during practice is an automatic technical foul, something coach Larracuente apparently didn't know. One middle-aged referee said, "The rule has been in effect since I was in high school."

Blair spread the scoring around, with 11 players scoring at least one point. Wade led the offense with 14 points, while Williams added 11. John Orr had ten, including eight in the second half. Fentahun scored eight points to go along with four or five very flashy assists.



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  • alumni98 on December 29, 2005 at 3:06 PM
    I'm glad to see Blair playing better these days. I beilve with better coaching they could really make some noise in the county. I mean, how can you have a Varsity Coach not know that it's a techincal foul for dunking during warmups? Where do we find these people?
  • alumni95 on January 3, 2006 at 7:30 AM
    Since when is the coach the one dunking in the lay up lines the players should and already knew about the rule. It is there fault for dunking and so what blair won anyway. Blair coaching has nothing to do with what the PLAYERS did.
  • blairbballsupporter on January 5, 2006 at 2:31 PM
    alumni98... what does u people mean? blair students and alumni should be more supportive and less critical. have you ever coached or even played basketball. i'm only 15 but I know to be supportive of the teams and coaches in my school.
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