Blair boys bulldoze the Bulldogs

Feb. 12, 2002, midnight | By Ben Penn | 22 years, 4 months ago

Increased energy is key in 71-53 win


Blair, the 4A/3A East Division's regular season champion was playing its third straight game without injured star point guard Cyril Djoukeng, a senior. In the first two games of Djoukeng's absence, the Blazers (17-3, 12-1) struggled mightily. But against Churchill High School, Blair regained its touch and dominated the last-place Bulldogs wire-to-wire, winning 71-53.

In the previous two games, Blair's offense sputtered, scoring 44 and 42 points against Sherwood and Whitman high schools respectively. The Blazers have averaged over 65 points per game with Djoukeng in the lineup.

Coach Jeff Newby looked at the game tape and decided that Blair needed to come alive and play aggressive defense. "Whitman slowed it down against us. I saw that we were in good position on defense, but we weren't doing a really good job denying anybody the ball," he said. "So we decided tonight we'll go back to fundamentals and one pass away you're going to deny, two passes away you're help side, we trap, everyone moves."

Newby explained that this defensive strategy translates into more offense. "I told the guys before the game, ‘What creates our offense is our defense. If we play good defense and get some steals, all of a sudden it gets contagious and we get fast-break, fast-break, lay-up, lay-up," he said. "If we don't play good defense, then teams can play zone, they can slow it down against us and we've got nothing. So really our game has got to be fast-break."

The plan worked to perfection against Churchill (4-16, 1-12), as the Blazers were already winning 25-12 at the end of the first quarter. The only thing that prevented the game from turning into an even bigger blow-out was Churchill's effective three-point shooting. The trapping half-court defense frustrated the Bulldogs, often forcing them to throw the ball away, and, as Newby predicted, led to fast-break lay-ups and even one dunk by senior guard Javier Ramos (17 points, six assists).

Three point guards – juniors Alonzo Woods and Max Blackburn, and senior Wreh Jalla – shared nearly equal minutes bringing the ball up the court. However, the trio can expect reduced playing time for the rest of the season since Djoukeng, who is recovering from a fractured wrist, is expected to play in Blair's next game on Feb 14 against Wheaton High School.

Newby was still appreciative of his team's point guard play. "It's good to get those guys in the mix just so in case we need them later on we'll have those guys ready. Our point guards did a real good job today," he said.

Blair's Mr. Consistency, senior shooting guard Ellis Yeadon, dropped a team-high 20 points and senior forward Chijioke Anyanwu scored 16 points and grabbed a team-high 12 rebounds.

Anywanwu said that part of the reason the Blazers were motivated to improve their play today was that the regular season is almost over. "We realized that playoffs start in like two weeks. We have to start right now playing with intensity," he said.

Tags: print

Ben Penn. Ben Penn, a senior in the Communication Arts Program, is thrilled to be taking on the role of managing sports editor for Silver Chips. While holding the position of page editor last year, Ben is proud to say that he was the only person on … More »

Show comments


No comments.

Please ensure that all comments are mature and responsible; they will go through moderation.