Ready to ball

Dec. 1, 2004, midnight | By Dan Greene | 16 years, 6 months ago

With a new coach and a new system, Blazer basketball is on the rise

The Blazers' last season ended with a disappointing 7-13 record and a heartbreaking first-round playoff loss to Gaithersburg, leaving the boys hungry to prove themselves this year. With a confident new coach and a revamped game plan, the Blazers are looking to return the program to the prime years of Blair basketball, when they dominated the region.

Orlando Larracuente arrived from Whitman this year to replace Dale Miller as Head Coach, bringing with him a faster, more up-tempo style of play that he hopes will re-energize the Blazers. "It's all about the fast break, it's more exciting,” Larracuente says.

To be successful this season the Blazers are going to have to make the most of Larracuente's high-speed basketball, keeping the ball moving and controlling the flow of the game. The Blazers do not have a lot of size this season—it pretty much stops at 6'1” center senior Kenan Myers—so they are going to have to play to this quickness as much as possible, since the team will probably not be able to dominate on the boards or in the paint.

Look for seniors Makonnen Brown and Brandon Curry to play big roles this season, as point guard and shooting guard respectively. Larracuente has high hopes for the duo, who will lead Blair's offense. "Their games complement each other,” says Larracuente.

Myers worked hard conditioning himself during the off-season and is expected to make big contributions as the Blazers' primary big man. Fast-paced basketball quickly takes a toll on its players; to avoid foul trouble and exhaustion the Blazers are going to have to get serious numbers from reserves. Larracuente says the Blazers are fortunate in their deep bench, and are fully capable of going eight or ten deep.

The Blazers still have some things to work on before the season opens on Wednesday, Dec. 7 against Einstein. Blair's transition game must be extremely tight for their rapid play to pay off, as must their defense. The Blazers will need to refine the hard-pressing, team-oriented defense they will play to match their offense.

The Blazers will have to bring all of this together fast, there is not going to be much room for error as the season progresses. There are no real weak spots in Blair's schedule this year, the Blazers face a daunting Division 4A West packed with powerhouse squads from schools like Magruder, Damascus and Springbrook, just to name a few.

Despite the rough schedule, Larracuente is optimistic about the season. He is looking to help Blair climb back to the lofty heights it occupied in decades past, when the Blazers dominated regional basketball. With their new game plan in place, the team has taken the first step, and their coach is confident that the Blazers can take the next one and prove themselves on the court. "Any time I take the floor,” Larracuente says, "I expect to win.”

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Dan Greene. Dan, alright fine, VJ, is proud to be a senior at Blair and a member of the best paper. Ever. He's really funny, trust him. As managing sports editor and ombudsman he enjoys sports and ombudsing. Dan also enjoys literature, soccer and crude humor. One … More »

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