MAR. 1, NELSON H. KOBREN MEMORIAL GYMNASIUM-
The girls' basketball team crushed Watkins Mill in the first round of the Montgomery 4A West playoffs 56-34 on Feb. 27. Tonight's game marks the first time in seven years that the Blazers have successfully entered the quarterfinals. Blair faced a formidable Springbrook Devils, who had a first round bye in the playoffs for having an 18-2 record. The Blazers played their hearts out but lost 51-44 dropping Blair's record to 10-14.
The Blazers left everything out on the court, and while they never obtained the lead in the game, they kept it close and didn't let their cross-town rivals pull away. The Blazers shot only 16 of 65 from the field, as many of their misses came on ill-advised outside jump shots, instead of pounding the ball inside. The Blazers, who grabbed only 24 total boards, were also visibly out rebounded. While the Blazers committed only 12 turnovers, they only accumulated a season low four assists.
The Devils, ranked number 12 by The Washington Post, showed that they were clearly over skilled early by claiming an 11-2 lead five minutes into the game, during which the Blazers took several ugly shots. Springbrook dominated the transition game in the first quarter and claimed a 17-9 advantage after the first quarter despite sophomore sensation Cate Rassman's seven points.
The Blazers cut the Devil lead to four at halftime, 24-20, by playing much more aggressively in the second quarter and stepping up their defensive play. While they played sloppily to begin the second half, the Blazers soon turned their play around. Senior Emily Ramsay's two consecutive buckets to end the third quarter put Blair within two points of the heavily favored Devils with one quarter to play.
After junior Vicky Dean banked in a jumper early in the fourth quarter to put the game at 36-34, the Blazers seemed poised to claim the lead. Unfortunately, the Blazers began to play unorganized ball, and the Devils went on a 13-4 run by playing intense defense and hitting clutch free throws to clinch the game. Rassman was able to swish a three-pointer at the final buzzer, perhaps foreshadowing an even more successful season next year.
Rassman led the Blazers with 16 points, five rebounds, four blocks and three steals. Ramsay added 11 points and shot five-of-six from the foul line. Junior Brittany Higgins scored six points and had four steals, while senior Caroline Kuttner led the team with eight rebounds.
Higgins was pleased with Blair's performance this season, and has high hopes for next year's team. "I think we stepped up our game. We proved a lot of people wrong. We're going to come back next season and blow a lot of people away," she said.
Coach William Lindsey is confident about his team's chances next season. While the inside presence of Ramsay and Kuttner will be greatly missed, the Rassman and Higgins led team should be able to make strides next season.
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 »