Rebounding difficulties plague Blazers in 52-35 loss
JAN. 5, NELSON H. KOBREN MEMORIAL GYM
The varsity girls' basketball team's rebounding deficiencies, exacerbated by the absence of junior forward Regat Buluze, put them behind early in their game against the Sherwood Warriors Friday night. Blair turnovers led to Sherwood fast breaks and the Blazers were unable to turn the game around, adding another loss to their record, now 1-8 for the year.
Blair started strong; early in the first quarter, sophomore Jenny Williams cut outside the three point line and scored a basket on a pass, giving the Blazers an early 3-0 lead. The Blazers' man-to-man defense held up. Following a free throw for the Blazers, the Warriors were able to take the lead with three foul shots and a basket earned on a lay-up after beating the Blazers to a rebound and speeding to the other side of the court, bringing the score to 6-4. Sophomore Ashley Arnold drove into the Warriors' defense and scored another basket, but Sherwood responded with two more baskets of their own, grabbing rebounds and beating Blair down the floor. Arnold cut into the lane and scored off a pass from junior Kalisha Holmes, but the Blazers were still down at 10-8 at the end of the first quarter.
In the second quarter, the Warriors began exploiting the Blazers' key weakness: rebounding. Unable to directly confront and penetrate Blair's defense, with strong players like juniors Sara Ramsey and Molly Martinez in the middle, the Warriors retrieved rebounds and crossed the court rapidly before Blair's defense was able to get back and set up. And while the Blazers had many strong offensive players, like Arnold, Williams and Holmes, the Warriors' defense continued to isolate these players when they had the ball and force them to drive forward alone or shoot long jumpers.
The Blazers trailed the Warriors throughout the second quarter, but finished the first half with a series of good plays on offense. Williams and senior Kathy Jee both scored from outside the lane within the final minute, bringing the score to 25-16.
Blair's rebounding troubles continued throughout the second half. At the end of the third quarter the Blazers finally began to beat the Warriors to the ball, but Sherwood stayed on top with more free throws and Blair's defense suddenly developed an uncharacteristically high number of holes, as unguarded Sherwood players were able to make open shots and lay-ups. As Sherwood's confidence grew along with their aggressiveness, the Blazers were becoming visibly frustrated with what they saw as frequent missed calls by the referees. Toward the end of the game, junior Meghan Cadigan suffered a knee injury and had to take a seat on the bench. The game ended with Sherwood on top 52-35.
The Blazers were fully aware of Blair's main deficiency against Sherwood. "We definitely gave up too many rebounds," said Holmes. But head coach James Mogge attributed the defeat to more than just a difference of speed and defensive intensity. "They need to have more confidence, even when they aren't doing so well," he said. Mogge was proud of the effort the team put into the game, saying, "We're working on becoming a better team."
The varsity girls' basketball team's next game will be at Magruder at 7:00 p.m. on Jan. 8.
Gus Woods. William "Gus" Woods is a junior who enjoys, far more than anything else, tiddlywinks tournaments and "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air" re-runs. He is a great fan of any and all music and enjoys playing the piano in his spare time. He belongs, literally belongs, … More »