Varsity boys' basketball falls to Clarksburg in season opener


Dec. 5, 2009, 9:05 a.m. | By Gardi Royce | 14 years, 6 months ago

Poor execution and lack of intensity hinder Blazers


NELSON H. KOBREN GYMNASIUM, Dec. 4 –

The Blair varsity basketball team's lack of energy and power resulted in a 45-34 loss to the Clarksburg Coyotes (1-0) in their first game of the season Friday night. The Blazers (0-1) were unable to draw on their experiences from summer training and offensive holes ultimately led to a disappointing defeat.

A Clarksburg player takes a free throw. Photo courtesy of Colin Wiencek.

Offense was a key problem for the Blazers. Passes were slow and off the mark, ruining scoring opportunities. The Blazers didn't always threaten to attack the basket when they possessed the ball; instead, the offense stood four feet behind the arc and passed to one another, putting off opportunities to approach the basket. Head coach Mark DeStefano was surprised at the lack of effort and noted that the Blazers didn't follow the recommended strategies introduced during practice. "We practice these things and work everyday. If they just play the game right, the scoring comes easily. We gotta apply what we practice to the game because we played like we had no idea what was going on," he said.

Gaping offensive holes also put the Blazers at a disadvantage. The team failed to box out whenever a shot went up. This created opportunities for the Coyotes to shoot, and within the first few minutes of the game, the opposing team quickly ran ahead with a 7-0 lead. Blair never bounced back from the early deficit. Clarksburg hustled up and down the court, while Blair's starting offense wasn't able to stay organized or confident when they got the ball.

After a period of poor possession, senior Ben Hukill, senior Cameron Reed and junior Charles Ruffin entered the game hoping to inspire the deflated Blazers. The effect was immediate. After a shot bounced off the rim, Hukill dove onto the ground and grabbed the loose ball. Reed, who scored 10 points throughout the game, gave his body to the play by repeatedly attacking the rim and drawing hard fouls. Reed and Ruffin connected on a couple notable assists. Although it seemed the Blazers had found a strong core, the rest of the team didn't share the energy. After the trio went off the court, the Blazers were unable to maintain their intensity.

Blair shoots the ball through the hoop for a two-pointer during the second half of the game. Photo courtesy of Colin Wiencek.

Blair's interior defense also experienced some difficulties, as Clarksburg was able to take many shots without difficulty. Blair wasn't able to fully protect the paint, which left them defenseless against Coyote attacks. After watching the defense fall apart against a formidable Clarksburg offense, the Blazers switched to a full court press, hoping to speed up the Coyotes and create turnovers. Senior Dennis Mesidor inspired a Blair resurgence late in the third quarter with a handful of blocks and proactive defense. His passionate play helped jump-start the team and rally a few successful offensive plays.

After a short bout of better court action, the Blazers weren't able to keep it up. As the clock wound down in the third quarter, Clarksburg air-balled a three-pointer with three seconds left in the quarter. As the Blazers began to walk off the court, a Coyote player grabbed the air ball and laid it up for an easy two-point basket. This showed the lack of effort and desire the Blazers exhibited throughout the game.

Coach DeStefano was very disappointed with the team's performance. "I'm at a loss right now," he said. "Their play was inexcusable and we were outplayed in every single category." He also noticed that some players didn't stick with the recommended playing strategies and techniques. "We got some guys that think they're above coaching and think they're above the team. [Next week,] I'm gonna take five guys who listen and do as their told and I don't care if we go 0-23. If they listen to our coaching, we will win games," he said.

Junior Ethan Brown agreed that the Blazers need to put in more effort. "We didn't focus on the little things and we gotta work harder, fight harder, play harder in practice," he said. Regardless, Brown is confident that the Blazers can improve beyond their season-opener performance. "We're definitely gonna get better. Some of this game was the first-game jitters," he said.

The boys varsity basketball team plays their next home game against John F. Kennedy High School on Tuesday, Dec. 8 at 7:00 p.m.

Editor's note: Mark DeStefano is the adviser of Silver Chips Online.




Gardi Royce. Gardi hails from the wine country in California. He is a surfer who enjoys calm nights on a peaceful sunset sailing in a boat. He is a amateur blackjack dealer who spends his free time in dark casinos with old men. His favorite book is … More »

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