Hornets out-play Blair in tight match-up
JAN. 21, NELSON H. KOBREN MEMORIAL GYMASIUM—
Everything was working out. The Blair girls were passing smoothly, making their shots and just plain doing what they needed to do to chalk up their first win at home since Dec. 7. Damascus was good, but not too good, and a win seemed very possible, if not probable. Even as the girls entered the fourth quarter tied at 37-37, the crowd and the team knew they could pull out a win.
What made the Blazers' eventual 51-48 loss to Damascus seem all the more painful was the fact that Blair really could have won. They were only a few shots away from a tie which would send the game into over-time, and had they not given a Damascus player the opportunity to sink two free-throws with less than 20 seconds left, they would have been only one shot away. Yet, in the late moments of the game, as they have repeatedly this season, the Blazers let panic ensue. Instead of setting their feet, going to the ball and making aggressive, crisp passes, the Blazers found themselves desperately flinging the ball at the basket and allowing their opponents crucial rebounds and free-throw opportunities.
The game was not without its positive points, however. The return of junior Cate Rassman to the squad bodes well for the rest of the season. Rassman immediately stepped up to lead the team in the tensest moments of the game and showed remarkable stoicism in high-pressure situations, scoring 75% of Blair's points from the field in the crucial final quarter and nailing three of an attempted four free-throws.
The first quarter was a battle of quality versus quantity between Blair and Damascus. The Hornets made four of an attempted 17 shots in the period, while Blair made six of 14. The biggest contributor was senior Jawana Henderson, who scored three two-pointers in the first quarter alone.
Hanging in with a weak 12-10 lead, Blair entered the second quarter aggressively. The Blazers were grabbing rebounds right and left despite very physical play from Damascus under the net. The quarter was tense and both teams struggled to hold onto the lead. With two minutes left, however, Blair unleashed a flurry of offensive moves, as junior Rahesia McDonald scored a jumper, senior Vicky Dean a three-pointer, and senior Britney Higgins two effortless free-throws. Blair went into half-time up 26-22.
As has been the story this whole season, the girls lost energy and spunk as soon as they stepped onto the court after half-time. Two minutes into the third quarter, Blair lost the lead, and struggled to stay with the Hornets, who seemed to finally be coming into their own. However, a three-point play from McDonald with less than a minute left in the quarter sent the girls into the final period even at 37-37.
The fourth quarter was a tragedy, not because of poor play from Blair, but rather because of the fact that they had played too well, too fluidly, too crisply to see that elusive slump-breaking win go down the drain in a game that was so very winnable. The old adage proved true as Damascus filed off the court celebrating victory by a margin of only four points: it is the tiniest cuts that hurt the most.
The Blazers' next game is Tuesday, Jan. 25 at Magruder at 5:15 p.m.
Ellie Blalock. Ellie is a SENIOR in the CAP program at Blair. She enjoys such activities as traveling, being able to say "water" in six languages and having heart-to-heart chats with eccentric politicians. If you're in need of a laugh, please ask Ellie about her driving record...you … More »