Springbrook runs away with playoff win in second half
FEB. 26, SPRINGBROOK
The Blazers put up a hardy opposition to the ferocious Blue Devils for much of the game tonight, but a flurry of Springbrook scoring coupled with the ejection of coach Orlando Larracuente took the wind out of Blair's sails and let the Blue Devils run away with the first-round playoff match, 64-45.
Blair played solid, speedy basketball for much of the night, but degenerated into turnover-ridden, sloppy play as the game went on. After Larracuente was hit with two technicals in quick succession, Blair just did not look like they could keep it together. Springbrook had built a healthy 14-point lead by then, and it proved to be too much for the Blazers to overcome.
Springbrook's play around the perimeter again proved to be the big difference, although their big men did repeatedly demolish the Blazer defense in the paint, their ball movement and unerring accuracy beyond the arc harried the Blazers all night.
Senior guard Makonnen Brown had some success from three-point range, racking up four treys on the night, but could not come even with the Blue Devil guards. Brown's real damage was done on his slashing drives, where he did a great job of distributing the ball to Blair's outside shooters and inside drivers. In one lightning-quick play, Brown drove on the basket only to be confronted by a Springbrook big man; Brown gave a deft no-look pass to sophomore Richard Chavez on his left, who kissed it in for two.
Senior workhorse Kenan Myers also worked hard to keep the Blazers in the game tonight, grabbing 11 points and several thunderous blocks against unsuspecting Blue Devils. Myers would come out of nowhere all night to smack away what looked like a definite two points.
Springbrook opened up the night with a 10-0 run but Blair was not about to let the Blue Devils run away with it in the first half, going tit-for-tat on the offensive end and coming up with major defensive stops when they needed them. As halftime approached, the Blazers were breathing down the Blue Devils necks, 27-21.
The Blazers kept it up for much of the third, playing fiercely on both ends, but the Blue Devils' outside shooting was starting to take its toll. Springbrook did not let up on the demoralized Blazers as the quarter wound down, silencing Blair on defense and scoring with abandon when they had the ball.
Blair was in a deep hole in the fourth quarter, and did not manage to climb out. Blazer offensive production ground to a halt and balls were repeatedly thrown away in transition. Junior Petros Fentahun hit a jumper as time expired, but by then the game was already out of reach.
Blair's early playoff exit showed off the inconsistencies that must be fixed if they are to compete against the likes of Magruder, Blake and Springbrook next season: too many mistakes in transition, a better grasp of offensive fundamentals and, overall, more cohesive team play. There is hope for the Blazers, especially with players like sharp-shooting sophomores Marquis Tyler and Jaydee Encarnacion as well as versatile sophomore swingman Ross Williams. All of these players can produce when it counts, but the real challenge will be in forging a unified, consistent Blazer team.
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 »