21-point third quarter silences RM shooters
The Montgomery Blair Blazers (3-0) girls' basketball team used their full court press defense to force steal after steal, which led to their 51-38 win against the Richard Montgomery Rockets. Blair used the third quarter to solidify the victory on Thursday night, in which they limited the Rockets to just six points.
At the tip, the Blazers surprised the Rockets with a full court press. They forced steal after steal, but could not score much themselves. RM had trouble figuring out how to get past the press and Blair totaled seven first quarter steals. After the Blazers took a 9-0 lead, the Rockets were finally able to push through the full court defense. They poured in four straight baskets before the quarter finished to bring the game within one. "That got our energy up and it made them panic a little bit, so they had to constantly face our man to man pressure, and that's what we love doing," junior Allison Mackenzie said.
Once RM solved the tough defense, Blair had to bear down in the half court defense set-up. The RM guards shot well against the Blazers, but Blair matched them on the offensive end. A baseline drive by forward Aissatou Bokoum, a transition bucket by Alexis Moses, and another score by Mackenzie gave the Blazers an eight point lead. But again Blair let RM slip back into the game, scoring the last five points of the half and bringing the game back to three. "The plan was to contest every shot and call screens and switches. It was that simple. They missed shots when we contested and they made shots when we didn't," coach Carlos Smith said.
After letting the Rockets back into the game at the end of both quarters, Blair was determined to distance themselves and keep a comfortable lead in the second half.
They did just that in the big third quarter. Six different players scored, led by junior Lauren Frost, who had three straight baskets at one point. It was all Blair on offense and defense. The Blazers outscored RM 21-6 and now took the comfortable lead they wanted into the fourth quarter. "I told them we have to finish shots if we want to win. The girls are very competitive, so knowing they were very competitive, they had to get some separation because the girls from RM could shoot," said Smith.
The fourth quarter was slowed by free throws, but with a big lead, the Blazers knew they had the game won. With so much momentum, Blair did not allow the Rockets back in the game. The starters hit their free throws to close out the game. The team was glad they executed right from the start, even though they let RM hang around for longer than they would have liked. "What coach wanted to see was that we were working hard right from the beginning, we didn't want to have to force things in the second half so with a steady lead we could play everyone," said captain Camille Estrin.
The girls' basketball team will play their next home game against Whitman on Friday at 8pm
Lauren Frost is a staff writer for Silver Chips Online
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