Watkins Mill edges out Blazers
DEC. 17, NELSON H. KOBREN MEMORIAL GYMNASIUM-
Friday night's girls' basketball game found the Blazers on a non-stop roller coaster of emotions. First came frustration as the Wolverines scored key points in the first half; then came hope, when senior co-captain Brittany Higgins pulled her team out of its rut and into a comfortable lead with a flurry of lay-ups and three-pointers in the third quarter. Coming into the fourth quarter, the tone of Blair's game was proud-perhaps too much so-yet when Watkins Mill surprised Blair by evening up the score and sending the game into over-time, the Blazers got desperate. Despite eleven attempts during the four-minute over-time, Blair was only able to sink two lay-ups, and lost the game they had fought so very hard to control-by a margin of only eight points. The final score was 61-53.
Junior Sara Pierce's miracle lay-up at the buzzer marking the end of the fourth quarter was emblematic of Blair's play throughout the match-up. They were always able to squeek by, staying neck-and-neck with the Wolverines and keeping both teams' fans on edge. However, when they needed it the most the Blazers were unable to find the luck and the drive to score crucial baskets in over-time. On the other hand, Watkins Mill seemed to come alive under pressure, and appeared more dominant than they had through the entire game during over-time. The Wolverines shot 60% from the field during the four minutes, yet their real advantage came through crisp execution of free-throws. Out of 11 total free-throws, they sunk six.
The tense and inevitably frustrating game began with both teams evenly matched. The Blazers' intensity and zeal complemented the Wolverines' size and strength, and throughout the first quarter the Blazers remained steadily at the heels of their opponents, never falling behind by more than five points. However, throughout the entire first half the Blazers were suffering from the limited shooting ability of Higgins, who was playing with an injured finger, as well as from a limited ability to get important rebounds, making offense a struggle. The generally taller Watkins Mill team had continual success with offensive rebounds and was able to turn missed shots into lay-ups which, unfortunately for Blair, added up on the scoreboard.
Although they entered the second quarter trailing by two, Blair still played with dominance and zeal. Watkins Mill let up a bit on offense, scoring only 12 points to Blair's 15 in the quarter and allowing the Blazers to take some risks and not concern themselves as much with defense. As the clock was winding down just before half-time, senior co-captain Vicky Dean stopped at the three-point line and sunk a beautiful shot which would bring the Blazers' lead to 28-22 at half-time.
In the fourth quarter, Watkins Mill gained the lead for a few minutes only to yield their offensive dominance to the Blazers, who really game alive during the period. Both Higgins and Dean shot three-pointers, and junior Rahesia McDonald scored a pretty leaping lay-up again, just at the buzzer. As the fourth quarter began, it seemed pretty obvious that the Blazers would come out on top, as they were leading comfortably by seven points. However, with continual success on the foul line and more energy, Watkins Mill came back in a big way. In the sixth minute, a Wolverine foul shot evened up the score, and Blair was only just able to stay alive. As the over-time period began, Watkins Mill got more intense. The only shots Blair was able to get were a rebound from Pierce which was followed by a Blair lay-up, bringing them within two points of a tie, the closest they would get. The Blazers began to lose hope as the buzzer neared, and with only moments left, a four point lead was just too much for them to surmount. The end of the period marked the end of what can only be remembered as an intensely disheartening and frustrating fourth game.
The Blazers' next game is Monday, Dec. 20 at 7:00 p.m. at Damascus.
Ellie Blalock. Ellie is a SENIOR in the CAP program at Blair. She enjoys such activities as traveling, being able to say "water" in six languages and having heart-to-heart chats with eccentric politicians. If you're in need of a laugh, please ask Ellie about her driving record...you … More »