Silver Chips Online

Lady Blazers sneak past Warriors, 57-51

Girl's varsity basketball makes stunning comeback for the win

By Sophia Deng, Online Managing Editor
January 16, 2009
NELSON H. KOBREN GYMNASIUM, Jan.13

The girl's varsity basketball team (6-5) shot past the Sherwood Warriors (3-8), overcoming a twenty-point deficit at half-time. Weak passing and defense plagued the Lady Blazers in the first half, but they were able to correct their mistakes in the second half and rally back to secure a huge 57-51 comeback win.

Taking advantage of numerous free throw opportunities and the holes in the Blazers' defense, the Warriors led for the entire first half. Blair could not keep up with the aggressive pace of the Warriors' offense. The Blazers continued to lose grip in the second quarter, while the Warriors widened their lead. Although Blair had many chances to score, especially from junior guards Inkera Patterson and Janet Henkai, those openings only turned into rimmed shots and turnovers. Unable to get the ball in the bucket, the Blazers closed the first half of play down 37-17.

Head coach Eric Conley was frustrated with the Blazers' first half performance, as was most of the team. "I think we were horrible in the first half," Conley said. "We were asleep."

Henkai also believed that the Blazers played poorly in the beginning. "That was probably one of the worst first halves we've ever had," Henkai said.

Pumped up by a hearty pep talk by Conley during halftime, the Lady Blazers stepped onto the court with renewed vigor to try and pull up a seemingly impossible comeback. By the end of the third quarter, they cut the deficit in half to trail Sherwood by only ten points. Conley attributed the improvement in play to focus and implementation of new tactics. "There was better ball play, pressure defense and a lot more heart," Conley says.

With the halftime words of their coach still in mind, the Blazers continued to pick up their momentum in the final quarter. Patterson was a driving force to the Blair offense, scoring a career high of 21 points, while senior Ashley Arnold, who scored 13 points, boosted Blazer morale by sinking ball after ball. With the pair's charge, the Blazers scored 14 unanswered points in the quarter, allowing them to lead for the first time in the game, 50-47.

As the end of the game neared, excitement rose in the air as the Blazers aggressively blocked all attempts for the Warriors to score and continued to score on offense to cement the victory. The final score was 57-51.

Conley is satisfied with her team's work, despite their mistakes in the first half. "I'm proud of their mental toughness. They know what they're capable of," she said.

With a fulfilling win in the bag, senior co-captain Saba Aregai sees a bright future for her team. "It can only go up from here. We'll just keep working on our game."

The Blazers' next home game is Friday, Jan. 24 against Springbrook at 5:15 p.m.

http://silverchips.mbhs.edu/story/8851