Habel dunks on Blair in 44-48 loss
In a season full of disappointments and losses Monday nights' game against Sherwood offered little reprieve. The Blair Blazers fell yet again in what seems an all to familiar fashion, 48-44, still unable to put together four solid quarters of basketball. The Blazers played a riveting first half and final quarter in which they came back from a 9 point deficit to get within a basket of winning.
Whitman came into the game 13-3 armed with one of the best point guard- power forward combo's in the county with seniors Daniel Engelstad and 6'10 shot blocker Jerome Habel manning the court. Habel swatted balls like flies and threw down hellacious alley-oops and two-handed jams to please the few loyal Whitman fans in the stands. In the third quarter Habel's aerial acrobatics provided enough of a lift to Whitman that Blair was unable to answer until almost 5 full minutes into the quarter. He finished with 20 points to lead all scorers.
The game began slowly as all the games this season have. The first few possessions were turnover plagued and it took a while for most of the Blazers to find their rhythm. However junior Charles Atakora came out hot immediately, opening the game with a sick reverse dunk to get the fans to their feet. He dropped 14 points in the first half alone, scoring more than half of the teams total points. Atakora was a killer on the boards all night and he mastered the close- to midrange jump shot that made former Blair star Ellis Yeadon famous.
The Blazers came out of the locker room flat and tasteless. The Vikings stormed out to a commanding 39-32 lead over the Blazers who only managed 6 points in the entire quarter, 4 of which coming in the final 30 seconds.
The fourth quarter was the best quarter for both teams. Senior point guard Max Blackburn, like he has done so many times this season hoisted the Blazers onto his frail shoulders in an attempt to lead his team to victory. Late in the 4th senior forward/center Jamie Platky got a costly technical after a ferocious block and foul on Habel, which led to four foul shots. Habel hit three of four putting the game seemingly out of reach but Blackburn with his clutch shooting ability knocked in a three pointer from the corner of the court.
Two equally clutch free throws by sophomore Brandon Curry brought the game to within four and a superior drive and lay up by senior David Cheeks brought the game to within a bucket. But with only 11 seconds to go and a Whitman lay-up putting the Vikings up four the Blazers were unable to complete the rally falling 48-44 in a hard fought game. "Whitman is a top team in the county and only has 3 losses all year, we played with good effort, we never gave up, and we played hard, that's all I ask," said Coach Jeff Newby, "Against most teams in the county we would have won tonight."
This season the team has been plagued with misfortune, starting seemingly June 2nd 2002 when Blair graduated two of its all time finest basketball players, Cyril Djoukeng and Yeadon. But even the actual season started off bad with starting shooting guard senior Alonzo Woods out for disciplinary reasons the first game. From there things got no better. With three straight losses in a row and one away from tying there total losses of all of last season the season had already hit rock bottom.
That is until Jan 28 when the Blazers faced Walter Johnson when the bottom got even further down. After a hard foul by senior Carl Reid a fight broke out that resulted in three Blair suspensions for the entire season. Three senior contributors were lost for the year including big time scores Ryan Sessoms and Woods. There loss is evident when the team scores 11 points in an entire half like they did against Sherwood on Feb 4. After the suspensions Newby was still optimistic saying, "We've come together as a team, we are a brand new team and totally different from what we began the season as."
In the forecast for the mighty Blazers are tough games against Paint Branch and Magruder both of whom have beaten the Blazers earlier in the season.
Calvin Anderson. Calvin Anderson was born in Washington D.C. on January 3rd 1986. He now lives with his mom in Takoma Park Maryland. Calvin is the man behind the infamous column Cal's Call. In addition to writing his column he enjoys playing sports including lacrosse and basketball … More »