DEC. 10, NELSON H. KOBREN MEMORIAL GYMNASIUM—
It was not always pretty. It was not always polished. But the Blazers (1-1) played some exciting, if frantic, basketball to get their first win of the season, 66-58, in their home opener against the Bethesda Chevy Chase (B-CC) Barons (1-1).
The Blazers, coming off a disappointing 47-61 loss to Einstein, fought hard throughout the game and overcame occasionally sloppy play to keep the lead firmly in hand for the entire contest. The team corrected their mistakes as the game went on, but still have a lot to work on before their schedule starts to toughen up against opponents like Damascus, Magruder and Springbrook.
Blair took a while to find their rhythm against the Barons. Early turnovers did not bode well for the Blazers, but the Barons were unable to convert these mistakes into points. Despite seven Blair fouls in the first quarter, B-CC could only get ten points. Foul shooting was not a highlight of either teams' game—although seniors Keenan Myers and Brandon Curry did make key free throws down the stretch—with both teams going 0 for 2 on several attempts in the first half.
The second quarter opened with the Blazers ahead 15-10. B-CC threatened with a 6-0 run midway through the quarter, following three consecutive Blair turnovers, but the scoring was halted as Myers stepped up in the paint and senior point guard Makonnen Brown started sinking free throws. The game went a little sour when Coach Orlando Larracuente was dealt a technical foul with two minutes left in the half, but ended well with Myers' massive rejection of a B-CC lay up. The Blazers were ahead 33-22 at the half.
Myers played solidly at both ends of the court the entire game, contributing to key defensive stops—when the Blazers could muster them—and then putting it in on the other end, racking up 23 points by game's end.
The second half opened with the same erratic play the Blazers started the evening with, Larracuente was forced to call a timeout as Blair turnovers contributed to six unanswered Barons points. Blair did not get any on the board until three minutes into the third when Brown hit two free throws after Larracuente vocally chastised him for over-dribbling on offense. The reprimands seemed to work, Brown helped the Blazers find their rhythm and orchestrated an 8-2 run in the next several minutes. Brown closed the third with a bang as B-CC committed that cardinal basketball defensive sin: fouling the shooter on a three. Makonnen made the free throw and the packed Blair stands, quiet for much of the second half, roared.
Blair's lack of team defense was evident again in the second half as the team failed to play the fundamentals and helped the Barons to some easy points. There was some heavy fouling and offensive and defensive scrambles as the clock wound down, but Myers continued his solid play and Curry hit a few key foul shots to help the Blazers close out on top.
Blair showed definite improvement in putting its up-tempo style of play into practice. The team still has a lot of things to polish, especially on the defensive end, but the Blazers certainly played like they wanted this game more than the last. "We played much more aggressively," Larracuente said. "But we need to know how to play with the lead and clean up the fundamentals on defense."
Brown summed it up succinctly: "We've got things to work on, but we played solid and much more intensely."
The Blazers' next game is at home on Tuesday, Dec. 14 against Walter Johnson at 7 p.m.
Dan Greene. Dan, alright fine, VJ, is proud to be a senior at Blair and a member of the best paper. Ever. He's really funny, trust him. As managing sports editor and ombudsman he enjoys sports and ombudsing. Dan also enjoys literature, soccer and crude humor. One … More »