Girls' basketball ends strong despite first-round playoff loss
The girls' basketball team upped its record for the third straight season this year, finishing 10-12 and ending the season with a 56-49 loss to Springbrook High School.
After the year began with a disappointing 0-4 record, the team pulled together for perhaps its most important win of the season, a 59-27 victory over Blake High School on Dec 27. This propelled Blair to wins in four of its next six games, including two key victories over Gaithersburg High School on Dec 28 and Jan 10.
Blair's biggest victories came toward the end of the year. The girls gave Wheaton High School a Valentine's Day trouncing, 57-20, and didn't lose a step during the snow break, dominating Kennedy High School 61-22 on Feb 24.
Blair fell to a daunting 16-6 Springbrook squad in the first round of the 4A West Region playoffs on Mar 1. The Blazers were dominated early, falling behind 12-3 at the end of the first quarter. The deficit became 20-5 in the second quarter. The Devils forced turnovers when Blair could not beat their full court press, and they stifled Blair with tight defense.
But with reserves like junior power forward Caroline Kuttner stepping it up late in the game, Blair regrouped and took the lead with three minutes remaining. Several key plays by Springbrook junior Jada Richardson, though, ensured a Blazer defeat.
Senior center Allyson Swailes (see Athlete of the Month, page 27), who led the team with 10.4 points per game (ppg), netted a team-high 16 points but sat out the final minutes with an injury.
Sophomore guard Brittany Higgins, who scored 14 points, also made key contributions.
Senior guard Jennifer Sindall, who was tied for first in the county with 40 three-pointers before the game, was unable to muster a three against Springbrook and finished with two points.
Coach William Lindsey believes that the Mar 1 performance against the Blue Devils mirrored the team's progress throughout the whole season. "Almost typical of the Springbrook game, at the end of the season we demonstrated the capabilities that we had. As we were going down the stretch, we pulled ourselves together," he said.
All wins came against teams with losing records, but most of the Blazers' losses were close. In fact, half were lost by seven points or fewer, including two overtime losses. Though they ended just under .500, the Blazers still outscored their opponents by 4.2 ppg on average.
With key players such as Kuttner, Higgins and juniors Kidesh Brown and Emily Ramsay returning to join incoming players from this year's 15-2 JV team, Lindsey believes that Blair will be a formidable contender in 2003-2004. "I perceive us as being one of the frontrunners in the county next year," he said.
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 »