Silver Chips Online

Girls' varsity basketball ousted from playoffs in second round

Blake Bengals end Blair's season with 77-40 win

By Sophia Deng, Online Managing Editor
March 4, 2009

In their second playoff game of the season, the girls' varsity basketball team (12-12) fell to the two-time regional champion Blake Bengals (17-7) on Tuesday night. Although the Blazers fought until the very end, mistakes and spotty defense plagued them throughout the match, leading to their 77-40 loss.

The Lady Blazers were unable to keep up with Blake's aggressive pace from the opening tip. Despite the determined efforts of Blair's defense, the Bengals scored eight unanswered points in the first five minutes of play. The Blazers quickly fell behind as ball control problems and an impenetrable Blake defense prevented them from finding an offensive rhythm. With limited chances to shoot, the Blazers ended the first quarter down 14-3.

Head coach Erin Conley attributed the Blazers' low score in the first quarter to nerves. "I think that we were a little scared," she said.

After a pep talk in which Conley told the Blazers to calm down, the players walked onto court with renewed vigor. Junior guard Inkera Patterson led the Blazer charge, breaking through the arms of her taller Bengal defenders to score early in quarter. Freshman guard Johanna Lopez, who finished with 15 points, also helped the Blazers by scoring off free throws and inside shots. Nevertheless, Blake's dominance in rebounding and three-point shooting enabled them to head into the locker room ahead 33-12 at halftime.

Never letting their energy diminish in spite of Bengal domination, the Lady Blazers continued to fight in the third quarter. Despite an 11-0 run from the Bengals, the Blair girls remained tough. They pushed relentlessly for every point, rebound and loose ball, closing the third quarter down 58-23.

During the final quarter of the game, Blair continued to fight by frequently hitting the deck for loose balls. Even with their resolve, several problems, such as faulty passing, turnovers and weak covering, undermined their many attempts to score. Although the Lady Blazers knew they could not make up their point deficit, their positive energy remained until the end, as they exploded and cheered when freshman Audri Jackson made two foul shots in the last two minutes of play, her only attempts from the line or the field the entire season. The optimistic Blazers lost their last game of the season, 77-40.

Throughout the game, the Blazers resolved to battle until the end. Patterson believed that the Blazers' show of willpower during the game was admirable. "We played hard," she said. "I'm not happy with the outcome, but I'm happy with the way we played."

Lopez, the team's leading scorer on the night and during the season, also believed that the team members put their best feet forward. "We had a lot of heart and played with enthusiasm. We're proud of our season and our record," she said.

Conley, who is proud of her team despite their loss, looked forward to her team's future. "Having a young team, we have a lot to build on," she said. "I hope next year we will be better. It's not just wins and losses, but we're always seeking to improve. I want to do better each year."