Before the game, the Blazers were riding high on a two-game win streak. But Blair was unable to recapture the same kind of intensity they had played with to end the regular season. "We didn't play the way we've been playing," DeStefano said. "Maybe it was the nerves, the packed crowd, I don't know. We just didn't get it done." A lone bright spot for Blair was the play of senior center Pape Koite, who saw big minutes for the first time this season. He posed matchup problems for Paint Branch, and finished with a team-high 10 points.
After a long, tumultuous three months of basketball, which ended in an early playoff exit for Blair, there remains a glimmer of hope for next season. Senior guard Charles Ruffin sees upcoming juniors Tucker Canary and Justin Shack filling the leadership roles next year, and believes there are better days ahead for the Blair basketball program.
Friday's game marked Blair's third loss to Paint Branch this year. The Panthers will face Magruder in the 4A West Quarterfinal on Monday.
Editor's note: Mark DeStefano is an advisor to Silver Chips Online.
Eli Schwadron. Eli (@eschwad) is a chill guy who likes to play basketball, watch TV and eat. More »