Boys' basketball falls to Warriors

Feb. 7, 2011, 10:44 p.m. | By Gardi Royce | 13 years, 4 months ago

Blair narrowly misses knocking off heavyweight Sherwood, 66-61


In one of their closest games of the season, boys' varsity basketball (3-15) just barely missed knocking off heavily favored Sherwood (12-5) in what would have been an incredible upset. With strong play from their entire team, the Blazers finally seemed to have found their flow.

The game featured non-stop offense, with both teams piling up baskets the entire game. Yet in the end, some missed opportunities made the difference as the Warriors escaped with the victory.

Junior guard Tucker Canary looks to set up a teamate as the Sherwood defense gets back. Photo courtesy of Andrew Kirwan.

Blair stormed into halftime with an impressive run to cut Sherwood's lead to 34-30 after the Warriors had started to heat up. Their offensive execution and good passing helped the Blazers take advantage of opportunities and shots. Coming out of the half, they played with similar intensity, making good passes and getting back for tough defense.

Throughout the game, the Blazers played with an energy and passion that has been apparent in recent games. Senior guard Charles Ruffin believed this inspired play will be the key to their success. "We've started playing better defense, amped up our intensity and are becoming much more threatening," he said.

Though their improved attitude translated to better execution, as the third quarter progressed, the Warriors started to pull away. Led by phenom guard Scott Bolen, 30points, the Warriors went on a 7-0 run coming out of the half. As their lead started to grow, it appeared like the Blazers were falling into their common trend of playing great first half basketball, only to have their effort wane in the last two quarters. But instead, the Blazers fought back.

Junior Dalonte Gaskin shoots free throws in this highly entertaining game. Photo courtesy of Andrew Kirwan.

Following a season game at Gaithersburg, senior sharp shooter Josh Kickenson sprang in to action at just at the right time, nailing threes and making head-turning assists to bring the Blazers back to life. Just when it appeared they were about to fall apart, Blair came roaring back led by junior Dalonte Gaskin's 19 points and Kickenson's 13, to bring the game within 47-48 on a last second shot. Gaskin discussed how Kickenson's contribution helped the team come together. "Man when we got Josh hitting threes, we're attacking more, gelling together as a squad... it's going to be tough to beat us," he said.

As everything started to come together, the Blazers came out of the fourth quarter charged with the same intensity of the first three quarters. And with seven and a half minutes remaining, Ethan Brown, 13 points, scored a basket that put the Blazers up 49-48. With this basket, Brown shot hope into Blair fans and players.

As the fourth quarter continued on, the Blazers had some key missed opportunities where they let chances slip away. With a missed rebound on one end, a turnover on the other, they were just not able to eek out the points needed to pull this game away from the Warriors. The last two minutes featured back and forth scoring with the Blazers trying to foul to keep their hopes alive, yet the Warriors' lead was insurmountable.

Head coach Mark DeStefano discussed the end of the game and the missed opportunities the Blazers had. "We had two possessions that we needed to make in order to close out the game, we had some breakdowns defensively and rebounding the ball. While we shot well and moved well, those two possessions really cost us," he said.

Senior Josh Kickenson exploded for 13 points, nailing threes and dishing assists in a tough effort.  Photo courtesy of Andrew Kirwan.

For their next game, the Blazers will have to mentally prepare themselves for Rockville, a team that boasts a 6'7 terror, DeAndre Kelly, who can shoot from the perimeter but also bring it down into the paint. While he presents a looming problem, Brown believes these past two games have prepped them for the fight ahead. "You're gonna see us play harder than we ever played," he said. It's passion like this from a team leader that will truly lead the Blazers roaring into the playoffs.

As the season winds to a close, it's games like these that start to prepare teams for what they will be like when the playoff starts. The results at the end of the season will ultimately come down to whether they can band together as a team or fall as individuals.

The boys' varsity basketball team will play their next home game on Tuesday, Feb. 7 against Rockville at 7 p.m.

Tags: Boys Basketball

Gardi Royce. Gardi hails from the wine country in California. He is a surfer who enjoys calm nights on a peaceful sunset sailing in a boat. He is a amateur blackjack dealer who spends his free time in dark casinos with old men. His favorite book is … More »

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