Blazers topple Titans

Dec. 8, 2003, midnight | By Luke Bostian | 20 years, 6 months ago

Blair takes down Einstein, 65-56, in season opener


The Blazer boys' basketball team got off to a slow start in today's season-opening victory over Einstein. In fact, neither team scored for the first two minutes of regulation. But things heated up eventually, and Blair found its way to a 65-56 win at home.

Blair was streaky, showing periods of excellent play in which the team dominated the boards and created crisp plays for easy points. However, there were also times when Einstein had three men in the paint against one Blazer and Blair simply couldn't contest for missed shots. Also, early on especially, the Blazers tended to rush the ball down the court and take bad shots too quickly.

The teams traded baskets (and fouls) throughout much of the first half, with neither team taking the upper hand. Einstein led by a score of 31-30 at the break. After halftime was a different story. The Blazers exploded midway through the third quarter and opened an 11-point lead on the shoulders of seniors Charles Atakora and Doojy Pierre-Louis. Einstein stormed back, once to within four points late in the game, but the Titans never regained the lead.

"A lot of guys had the first game jitters, but we got that out of our system pretty quick," said second-year assistant coach Wendell Hall.

Atakora was brilliant, going 9-for-16 from the field and 9-for-10 from the line for 27 points and grabbing five rebounds. Pierre-Louis had seven points and an astonishing, game-high 14 rebounds. Apart from Atakora's powerful performance, the Blazers' scoring was well spread out.

In the second half, the Blazers owned the game, but showed room for improvement. That was especially clear in Blair's two technical fouls, one on guard Perry Smith for arguing with the referee—he fouled out on the T-and the other on guard Brandon Curry for grabbing the rim while the ball was dead. "I was disappointed with the discipline on the floor," said first-year Coach Dale Miller.

Of his first varsity basketball game since winning the state title at Wootton 24 years ago, Miller said, "A win's a win. I hope we can play better."

Miller was an outstanding basketball coach at Wootton in the 1970s, twice winning state championships at that school. He retired from coaching to become Blair's athletic director more than twenty years ago, with a notable return as a head coach in the early 90's, but as the leader of Blair's football team. He led the Blazers to an 8-2 record in 1994 before retiring from coaching once again to devote his energies to directing Blair's sports teams. After Jeff Newby left Blair and his coaching position last year, though, Miller decided to take on the job of guiding the Blazers.

After last year's disappointing 7-15 run, this victory was a good one for Blair. It showcased the team's strengths while also pointing out the Blazers' weaknesses and areas for improvement. This season ought to be a vast improvement over last year's shortfall.

Blair will next test its mettle at rival Bethesda-Chevy Chase, itself looking to have a strong winter, Dec 9 at 7:15 p.m.

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Luke Bostian. Luke Bostian is a senior in CAP and has nothing much to say for himself. Well, actually, that's a lie. Luke has a lot to say for himself and says it all the time. So he won't bore you with it. Suffice it to say … More »

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