Silver Chips Online

Blazers fall to one of county’s best

Third ranked Panthers defeat Blazers 67-30

By Anshul Sood, Online Sports Editor
February 15, 2008
NELSON H. KOBREN GYMNASIUM, Feb. 14 –

The Blazers (4-12) fell to the defending Regional 3A champion Paint Branch Panthers (17-0) in a one-sided match, 67-30.

From the opening tip, the Panthers were in control of the game. Immediately after their first field goal, they went into a full court press and stole the ball from the Blazers. Their aggressive defense opened up fast break opportunities and allowed them to take an early 13-0 lead in the first quarter. The Blazers only managed to score four points in the quarter as the Panthers led 23-4 after the period.

The second quarter showed much improvement by the Blazers. The Panthers backed off their full-court press, but their half-court defense was still aggressive enough to force multiple Blazer turnovers. The Blazers often found themselves unable to break double-teams, but managed to score when they did. But, Panthers' offense remained dominant and retired to the locker room up 43-15 at the half.

The Panthers and Blazers traded shots in the beginning of the third quarter, but the Blazers cut down on turnovers but were still unable to match the Panthers' offensive firepower. The Blazers ended the third quarter down 54-27. Junior Ashley Arnold led Blair with a double-double with 15 points and 14 rebounds.

The fourth quarter was very unkind to the Blazers, who only managed to score three points in the period, a season low. Though not reflected by the 67-30 final score, the Blazers played relatively strong defense as the Panthers just defeated back-to-back opponents by scoring at least 80 points.

Despite the final score, head coach Erin Conley was impressed by her team's performance. "I thought we played a really good game," Conley said. "Paint Branch is a really good team and probably the best we have faced so far. So I think playing against such a good team helps us to improve for the last few games coming up."

Senior guard Kalisha Holmes agreed. "It wasn't our worst game," she said. "There were some places where we really stepped up and I think we can take a lot away from this game."

Conley's main focus this season has been, and continues to be, fundamentals. "We still need to improve on some fundamentals of the game like ball fakes, passing and dribbling," Conley said, hoping that this game well help enforce her season-long lesson.

The Blazers' next and final home game is Thursday, Feb. 21 against Gaithersburg at 7 p.m.

http://silverchips.mbhs.edu/story/8145