Varsity basketball loses to Blue Devils 41-36
NELSON H. KOBREN GYMNASIUM, Jan. 4 –
Despite improved play and hard-nosed defense in the second half, the efforts of the girls' varsity basketball team fell short on Friday night. The Blazers (2-4) dropped their third game in a row to the Springbrook Blue Devils, 41-36.
Springbrook controlled the opening tip-off, but neither team could get much going offensively though strong defense forced multiple turnovers on both sides. Junior Ashley Arnold scored all of Blair's four first quarter points and the defense held the Blue Devils to just six.
The Blazers got off to a hot start in the second quarter, led off with a three-pointer by junior guard Jenny Williams, who ended the night with five three-pointers. The offensive spurt was short-lived as the Blue Devils responded with six unanswered points to take a 12-7 lead.
While ineffective on offense, the Lady Blazers began playing tough defense – double-teaming outside the arc and playing a full-court press at times. With another three-pointer from Williams, the Blazers ended the half down 16-13.
The Blazers aggressive defense continued into the third quarter. Senior forward Sara Ramsay came up with big blocks and key rebounds to keep the Blazers in the game. Ramsay was also force on the glass, pulling down 11 rebounds.
Midway through the third quarter, the Blazers had cut the Blue Devils' lead to 23-22. Again, Springbrook put up another six unanswered points, forcing the Blazers to intensify their defense. "Our defense got really good because we adjusted to Springbrook's offense," said senior guard Kalisha Holmes.
After capitalizing on forced turnovers, the Blazers still trailed 29-26 at the end of the period.
The Blazers dictated the beginning of the fourth quarter. Ramsay scored two points in the paint and made two free throws to bring the Blazers within one. But Springbrook's offense controlled the next few minutes with breakaway chances and big blocks on defense, bringing the score to 34-39.
The stout Blazer defense came up with huge plays the next two possessions, forcing a turnover – which Arnold converted to a field goal – and a shot clock violation. In the last 30 seconds of regulation, the Blazers' rally fell short and they were unable to catch up to the Blue Devils, who won 41-36.
Head coach Erin Conley saw much improvement in the team's mental commitment. "We played very well," Conley said. "Day by day you can see us improving all around."
Holmes cited flaws in the offense as the reason for the loss. "I think we need a more efficient offense in order to win," she said. Conley agreed, adding, "We need to work on our offensive rotation and converting our shots and layups with defensive pressure on us."
Still, Holmes was impressed with the team's resiliency. "We showed great potential and fought really hard," she said.
The Blazers' next home game is Friday, Jan. 11 against Magruder at 5:15 p.m.
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