Lack of intensity leads to another loss for Blair
NELSON H. KOBREN GYMNASIUM, Dec. 19 –
Plagued by defensive errors, the Blazers fell frustratingly 31-61 to the evenly matched Churchill Bulldogs, bringing the Blair's record to 2-3.
Contrary to the rest of the game, the first quarter got off to a quick start. The Lady Blazers jumped out to a 4-0 lead with baskets by senior Kalisha Holmes and junior Jenny Williams. The Blazers' no-prisoners defense forced the Bulldogs into mental mistakes, causing turnovers and missed lay-ups. The Bulldogs knotted the match at 4-4 which the Blazers answered to with additional baskets from senior Sara Ramsay and Williams, but the Bulldogs still ended the quarter up 10-8.
Following the break, the Bulldogs began to pass more effectively, sending Blair's defense scrambling and often leaving an opposing player wide open for a shot. On the offensive Blair kept up when junior Ashley Arnold sank a bucket to tie it up 10-10. On the defensive end, Blair continued to grow shakier just as the Churchill offense picked up steam.
The Bulldogs pounded the weak defense, scoring eight unanswered points. Arnold finally ended the drought with a three-pointer, but the effort barely kept the Blazers breathing, down 13-23 at the half.
In the third quarter, the Lady Blazers switched from a man-to-man defense to a 3-2 defense, but the adjustment was futile. Churchill charged out of the locker room with an aggressive full court press and scored four points within the first 30 seconds. Blair's offense struggled to keep up with the team's defensive woes – Ramsay, Arnold and freshman Janet Henkai contributed a field goal, Holmes boosted the team with a three.
Among the few defensive highlights, Holmes managed to sneak away with several steals and Ramsay stopped the Bulldogs with a block. Still Churchill was able to take advantage of the height difference at guard in the second half, and reverted from scoring points in the paint as they did in the first half to attacking outside the circle, a strategy that widened their lead to 21 points at the end of the third quarter.
In the fourth quarter, baskets came few and far between and inevitably doomed the Blazers to the 31-61 loss.
Ramsay was frustrated with the team's lack of cohesion when facing a comparable team. "We didn't work hard enough," she said. "We could've beat this team."
"We lacked intensity, we were not playing like a team, we weren't mentally focused," head coach Erin Conley said. "We lacked intensity in that we didn't move the ball around, and we made mistakes like not getting back on defense."
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