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Dec. 9, 2009

Cavaliers outlast Blazers in hard-fought showdown

by Gardi Royce, Page Editor
NELSON H. KOBREN GYMNASIUM, Dec. 8

Blair's boys' varsity basketball team (0-2) couldn't hold on to a first-half lead against the (1-1) Cavaliers Tuesday night, falling 60-48 and losing their second straight game. Though the Blazers had spouts of good play, the Cavaliers' hustle and intensity overpowered the often tentative Blazers.

Senior Cameron Reed takes a shot early in the game. Lorena Kowalewski
Senior Cameron Reed takes a shot early in the game.
Coming off a tough loss to Clarksburg during which they tallied only 11 rebounds, the Blazers looked to add intensity and energy in their second game. With a new starting five, Blair came out strong and showed the hustle they lacked against Clarksburg. Throughout the first two quarters, Blair's interior defense created difficult shots for Kennedy, while the forwards improved their boxing out and anchored many rebounds. But as the game wore on, it was clear the Blazers had lost the intensity and urgency they possessed earlier; offense lapsed back into ineffective perimeter-passing as Blair struggled to conquer the Cavaliers.

The first quarter was almost flawless for the Blazers. Offense flowed and defense effectively shut down Kennedy. The inspired plays gave Blair athletes more energy, which limited their turnovers and mistakes and allowed them more power on defense. Their ability to get to the rim and free throw line was key to their success.

But as the second quarter began, their chances of a victory diminished. Poor ball handling, a weak interior defense, turnovers and fouls caused the Blazers to struggle. Frequent Kennedy fast breaks went unblocked, while most of the Blair team played catch-up. Poor play continued for the rest of the game as strong execution and ball management faltered.

Junior Charles Ruffin tries to score in the second quarter. Lorena Kowalewski
Junior Charles Ruffin tries to score in the second quarter.
Assistant coach Cedric Boatman credited the loss with a lack of control towards the end of the game. "We need to execute better, rebound better and take opportunities when they're given to us. We didn't take care of the ball and we turned it over a bunch." In the end, the Blazers' lack of mental focus and spiritless play made them unable to catch the Cavaliers.

While his team fell around him during the game, senior captain Cameron Reed showed his talent as one of the Blazers' most potent threats. Reed got to the line nine times and compiled a team-high 16 points. His passionate play inspired other Blazers to dive for loose balls and take hard fouls for the team. With the team on his back, he attacked the Kennedy defense relentlessly and shot well from the court.

Taking cues from Reed, other players tried their hardest to keep the game in reach. Junior Charles Ruffin played lock-down defense, managing nine points and multiple steals. Though his play was limited, senior Ben Hukill provided a spark of energy at the end of the game with four tough rebounds and two points.

Overall, Blair showed improvement from their previous game, but coach Mark DeStefano knows the team needs to play better in order to start winning. "We are not the kind of team that can play mediocre and win. We have to play hard and take every single opportunity we have to win the game," he said.

Regardless, DeStefano believes the team's performance was a step in the right direction, although there are still a few rough patches that need to be ironed out. "We came out well and took good shot selection, but we made some crucial mistakes and lost defensive assignments which cost us in the end. More than being physically strong, we need to be much tougher mentally," he said.

The boys' varsity basketball team plays their next home game against Paint Branch High School on Friday, Dec. 11 at 7:00 p.m.

Editor's note: Mark DeStefano is the adviser of Silver Chips Online.



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  • bballsensation on December 9, 2009 at 10:21 PM
    much better article sco and gardi, this time this one makes sense and doesn't have weirdo words in it. good job, u guys steped up to the bat and took all the insults from the last one some by me and made it better. to bad they lost
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