Blazers never find the lead at home against the Blue Devils
Coming off a disappointing 20-point loss against Paint Branch High School, Blair's varsity basketball team struggled,and eventually fell to a physically dominant Springbrook High School squad, 68-43.
From the opening tip-off it was evident that Blair was going to have to fight hard to stay in game in front of its home crowd. On Blair's defensive end, consistent pressure forced numerous turnovers throughout the game, but on offense, the Blazers had a tough time connecting. The sheer size of the Springbrook players posed a big problem for the Blazers all night. The Blue Devils dominated the rebound game, something the Blazers consistently had trouble with so far, and made it hard for Blair to find quality shooting lanes, much less effectively move the ball down court.
In the first quarter Springbrook shot out to an early lead but wasn't able to shake the, at times, frantic Blair squad. The Blazers were able to steal the ball a few times on defense and force some turnovers, but their inefficient clearing game gave Springbrook numerous easy lay-ups off of fast breaks. In the last few minutes of the quarter Blair reeled Springbrook in, and cut their lead down to 20-16.
In the second quarter, second year head coach Jeff Newby began to experiment more with player combinations by drawing from his bench. Blair did not become any more cohesive however, and Springbrook began to slip away with the game. The Blue Devils capitalized on many fast break opportunities moving the ball down court with ease. Blair's frustration began to show and even some of the veterans withered in the face of Springbrook's defensive pressure.
In the fourth quarter Springbrook cruised with the lead consistently above twenty, and took the game home, 68-43.
Strong individual effort was outweighed by a lack of organization in Blair's offense. The Blazers did not run many settled, set-plays, and when they did, mishandled passes and failure to recognize a double team and find the open man did them in. Springbrook's size and quickness overwhelmed Blair's attempted run-and-gun style of play, often forcing turnovers and converting unsettled situations into easy Blue Devil points. A lack of communication led to ill-advised passes and rushed fast breaks when Blair didn't have the number advantage down court.
Concerning the future of his team, senior co-captain Jamie Platky knows that things have to change. "What we have to do is rebound, we need to come together," he said. "The most frustrating part was how we rushed everything."
Throughout the season so far, no group has emerged that Newby can consistently rely on for the majority of a game. Against Springbrook, every single healthy player made it onto the court, and only one player from Blair's starting lineup started the second half. The Blazers have missed the offensive punch of Senior Alonzo Woods, who did not dress tonight or against Paint Branch as a result of a recent suspension. Woods will be in the lineup Dec. 17 against Walter Johnson High School.
This loss to Springbrook, along with an uninspired debut against Paint Branch High School, the Blazers dropped to 0-2 on the season. Springbrook will look to better their record to 3-0 Dec. 17 against Kennedy High School.
Newby believes the number one thing going against the team is fact that only four players who are on the current Blazer squad were on the team last season. "It's a new group of kids, they don't trust each other very well," he said. He is optimistic however, about where his team will be down the road. "The goal is to get better every game, you never know what's going to happen next week," he said. "By the time February rolls around, we'll be a completely different team."
Lincoln Fischer. Senior sports writer Lincoln Fischer was born in Manhattan, New York on May 1st 1985. He presently lives in Takoma Park with his mother, father and sister. His father, Craig, is an editor for Pace Publications, which produces a number of newsletters related to criminal … More »