In the battle of the devils, the Blazers lost 62-57 to the Blue Devils, their cross-town rivals at Springbrook High School on Friday, December 13. Blair has begun the season 0-2 having also lost to Paint Branch High School 69-56 on Tuesday, December 10. However, both Springbrook and Paint Branch were 3-0 as of December 13, so Blair could be more successful against weaker opponents.
Blair struggled out of the gates by falling to an early 15-4 deficit and never recovered. Trailing 56-45 with 3:09 left, a comeback looked hopeless, but a quick 10-1 run by the Blazers capped by senior guard Jennifer Sindall's jumper with 36 seconds remaining cut Springbrook's lead to two points. Sindall finished with eight points and shared a team-high four assists. Several Springbrook free throws late in the game sealed the victory for the Blue Devils.
An lack of intensity early in the game, defensive miscommunication, sloppy play and questionable officiating also contributed to Blair's ultimate demise.
The Blazers were led by senior center Allyson Swailes, who came off the bench to lead the team with 24 points, 13 rebounds and 3 steals. Swailes, who transferred from Caroll High School in Washington, D.C., brings a Shaq-like presence with an outside jumper.
She was bigger than her opponents, leading to many easy put-backs and trips to the foul line, where she capitalized. "I think I played really well. This is my coming out party," said Swailes. "I stepped it up this game and have shown all of Montgomery County that I'm coming back for a new season."
Junior Caroline Kuttner, who started at power forward, also played well as she scored 13 points and grabbed six rebounds. Kuttner believes that the team has improved over last year's 9-14 performance but still sees room for improvement. "We need to work together a little more. There were breakdowns. [This game] shows it is a step forward from last year," she said.
William Lindsay, in his 22nd year as head coach, has amassed over 300 wins, a winning percentage of .650 and a state championship in 1981. Lindsay has confidence in his team. "I am proud of what they did. They can pull things together and [this game] was an example. They're going to get better," he said.
In the Paint Branch game on December 10, the Blazers were also sloppy, committing 19 turnovers. At halftime, the score was tied at 27, but the Panthers' outburst of 22 third quarter points against only 10 from Blair ensured a Blazer defeat.
Paint Branch spread their scoring around with five players in double figures. The Blazers made 4 three-pointers, three from Sindall, but couldn't manufacture a three against Springbrook. Blair shot 56 percent from the foul line in both games, missing several key opportunities. Sophomore Brittany Higgins, who started at guard and led the Blazers with 12 points against Paint Branch, was held scoreless by Springbrook's skillful defense.
The lady Blazers have improved upon their 1-22 record in 1999-2000 with three wins in 2000-2001 and nine wins last year. With some needed improvement, the future of the team looks bright.
Zach Mellman. Zach Mellman was born on October 18, 1956 (he was held back once or twice). He has lived in Takoma Park, Maryland his entire life. He is currently a senior at Blair enrolled in honors classes. He is also a member of Blair's golf team, … More »