Despite some improvements, the Blair boys were not able to break their losing streak
On Dec. 19, the Blair Blazers (0-5) lost their second home game to the Blake Bengals (4-1) in a fiery game with an ending score of 60-76. The game was characterized by a lack of defensive strategy and a lack of effort on the boards. While the Blazer’s made obvious improvements with moving the ball around and communication, they were not often able to convert those improvements into scoring.
The first half started out strong with a triple from senior guard Jonathan Pang. Blake’s lead on Blair was fairly tight for the first couple minutes of the game. However, the opposing team was eventually able to take advantage of the Blazers’ defensive breakdowns and soon maintained a steady twenty point lead throughout the rest of the half.
The Blazer’s inability to maintain possession of the ball cost them a huge sum of points. Continuous failure to catch rebounds left Blake in a position to score constantly. Whenever the Blazers scored, Blake retaliated quickly. There were few shining moments for Blair’s defense, but nowhere near enough to be able to fend Blake off. Both teams were aggressive with one another, resulting in foul after foul.
Midway through the first half, the Blazers were trailing 12-32. Whenever Blair seemed to push through Blake’s defense, they were met with a strong defensive presence in the paint. The first half disappointingly ended in a score of 25-44.
The Blazers went into the second half with some triumphant energy. Blake, however, was not backing down; they did not allow Blair to get any sort of edge on them. The frustration and intensity began to bubble up. Despite the win running away from the Blazers, they were able to fix some mistakes they had during the first half; they managed to maintain possession longer, but were still unable to convert consistently
At the end of the third quarter, the score sat at 40-60. Blair certainly made improvements offensively, but still weren’t able to catch up. A lack of defensive effort and communication has been a pattern throughout their season, but it seems that they are making progress in those departments.
The game, unfortunately, continued with the same pace, as the Blazers’ small improvements to their technique was not enough to fully fend off the Bengals. By the end of the lead, they were able to tighten up the lead Blake had on them, and the game ended with a final score of 60-76.
According to senior guard Johnathan Pang, Blair needs to focus on minimizing small mistakes. “There were just small little mistakes that we could fix,” he says, “definitely the small things, just like rebounding, boxing out, passing, jump stops, all of that.”
According to Coach Paul Mensah, the Blazers will also be working on tightening up their defensive strategy and rebounding skills. “I felt like if we cleaned things up, [like] missed layups, got better at rebounding, we could win… and that’s all we want, we want to continue to get better,” he says.
Despite the loss, senior guard Romel Wilson is excited for what the season has to come. “We keep building every game, we just gotta get better, mesh together… just be ready for the next games,” he says.
Catch Blair’s next home game on Tuesday, January 3 against Wheaton. Tickets can be bought online here.
Lillian Paterson. Hey, I'm Lillian (she/her) and I'm the co-sports and co-op-ed editor for SCO. When I'm not being totally consumed by school work I like to play guitar and read. More »
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