Varsity girls dominate Sherwood High School with skillful offense and rebounding
FEB 4, NELSON H. KOBREN MEMORIAL GYMNASIUM—
The Blazers defeated an undersized Sherwood High School squad 46-26 tonight as they improved to 7-9 after rebounding from a disappointing 0-4 start.
Blair out-rebounded Sherwood and also abused Sherwood's zone defense with uncontested shots. Blair's overpowering defense and Sherwood's inability to sink a clutch shot contributed to the Warriors' offensive debacle.
Blair was down 3-2 early but then went on a 12-0 run as the early deficit proved to be the only one in the game. In the first 11:50, Sherwood could muster only one field goal and three points against Blair's stifling defense. After their run in the first quarter, the Blazers were outscored 8-6 in Sherwood's most successful portion of the game.
At the end of the first half, Senior guard Jennifer Sindall hit her first of two three-pointers, which sparked a 21-2 Blazer run. Sindall, who is ranked fourth in the country for three-point shooting, finished with ten points against the Warriors.
She also tied for the team lead with five steals and passed her way to a team high of three assists on the night. Sindall averages 9.1 points per game for the season, third on the team.
The largest Blazer lead versus Sherwood was 44-15 in the fourth quarter, before Blair's reserves finished the game. The Warriors ended on an 11-2 run, and the Blazers could make only 18 of 62 shots from the field. But Blair made up for its poor field-goal percentage with quality defense, rebounding and passing. The victory resembled the Blazers' 60-39 win at Sherwood on Jan 2.
Coach William Lindsey believes that Blair's increase in steals and decrease in turnovers—from approximately 30 in the 56-42 loss to Walter Johnson High School on Jan 28, to 15 against Sherwood—helped to achieve a victory. "We cut down on turnovers to a large degree," he said. "We could have shot better, but we had  steals. As long as we do that, it's always a plus."
Senior center Allyson Swailes came off the bench to lead all scorers with 11 points on 5 of 9 from the field, while she shared team highs with seven rebounds and five steals. Swailes leads the team with 10.7 points per game this season.
Junior center Emily Ramsay also capitalized on the Warriors' general lack of size with ten points, barely exceeding her season average of 9.9 points per game.
The Blazers won without junior Kidesh Brown, who usually starts at small forward. Brown was suspended for her involvement in a fight during the boys' game at Walter Johnson (see story, page 32).
Swailes said that the team's attitude made a difference in its level of play. "We kept the intensity up in this game, and our team was more successful than it was all season. We played better than we ever did before," she said.
The Blazers have won seven out of their last 12 games and, according to Sindall, now hope to reach the .500 mark for the first time in four years by finishing at least 4-2. "We came out with the mentality that we need this game to finish the rest of our six games with wins," she said.
Despite its losing record, the team has averaged 52.4 points per game, nearly four points better than opponents' average of 48.7. The Blazers also have had two close overtime losses, against Whitman and Bethesda-Chevy Chase high schools.
Each year, the team has improved its record. Blair's 1-22 campaign in 1999-2000 grew to a 3-20 record the following season and then to 9-14 last year.
Although Lindsey is dissatisfied with the team's current record, he believes that the girls are close to success. "It's been somewhat disappointing because, in terms of wins, I was hoping that we'd be a little better off. It's a fine line between where we are and where we want to be," he said.
Ramsay said that team has trouble playing competitively for all 32 minutes. "We just need to play the entire game, not just half of it, for the remainder of the season," she said.
Zach Mellman. Zach Mellman was born on October 18, 1956 (he was held back once or twice). He has lived in Takoma Park, Maryland his entire life. He is currently a senior at Blair enrolled in honors classes. He is also a member of Blair's golf team, … More »