Girls' basketball falls hard in tensely fought home match
JAN. 19, NELSON H. KORBEN MEMORIAL GYMNASIUM–
The Blair varsity girls' basketball team played hard and as a team but, in the end, could not overcome the relentless attack of the Richard Montgomery Rockets. The Blazers, playing at home before an enthusiastic crowd, pressured their opponents all night but ended the game with a frustrating 45-53 loss. Although victory eluded the Blazers, the girls showed considerable improvement upon past performances, and gave the excited crowd something to cheer about.
The first quarter began with immediate possession by the Rockets, whose control of the ball frustrated the Blazers early in the game. Despite the Blazers' crisp passing, they still turned the ball over twice, which led to quick scores for Richard Montgomery. After the Rockets' strong start, Blair seemed unsettled by their opponents' speed and concentration. Before the first quarter was over, the Richard Montgomery girls had built a strong lead of 12-2. As the first quarter came to an end, the Blazers finally started to play with some intensity. Led by juniors Sarah Ramsay and Regat Buluze, the Blazer defense contained the Rockets in the final minute, blocking multiple shots to end the quarter. The high-energy first quarter ended with the Blazers trailing 2-12. Despite the early set-backs, a rowdy Blair crowd roared at a series of missed shots and sloppy passes by the Rockets.
As the second quarter began, the Blazers seemed to settle into their game, increasing their energy level and their shooting percentage. The Blazers got an impressive performance from sophomore Jenny Williams, who, though sometimes letting her aggressive tendencies get the better of her, made several impressive steals and baskets throughout the quarter. A series of fouls from both teams slowed the pace of the game down, and neither side seemed to be able to convert their opportunities. But with one minute left in the half, Blazers took advantage of the Rockets' lack of communication, scoring four quick baskets, and ending the half with a close score of 20-23.
As the third quarter began, the Blair girls seemed to have lost some of their composure, with several back and forth plays resulting in no points. As the minutes ticked by, the Blair girls seemed to slip, and Coach James Mogge called a time-out with four minutes left. Blair came back energized after the break, and with the help of some impressive defensive moves by senior co-captain Helen Denbow and some speedy passes and shots between Williams and junior Kalisha Holmes, the Blazers stole the lead, bringing the score to 28-27. Despite their relentless play, the team still trailed by five, 30-35 at the end of the third.
With the start of the final quarter, the Blair players seemed determined to regain the lead, but their opponents were ruthless. What had been a manageable five-point deficit soon increased to eight points, as the Rockets took advantage of Blair's inability to rebound. With four minutes left in the quarter, Richard Montgomery player Anna McCreight made two quick baskets to increase the Richard Montgomery lead even further. With two minutes left, and the game already out of reach, Williams scored six straight points to end the game. Though her attempt to bring the Blazers back came up short, it did make the final score of 45-53 look more respectable.
Coach James Mogge praised the girls for their improvement, but noted, "We're not experienced in close games, so we don't always know how to finish what we started." Many of the girls were also proud of themselves and their performance. Denbow praised their aggressive defensive line, but then said, "I think we played really well but we always fall apart at the end."
April DalBello. More »