By Avi Wolfman-Arent, Sportswriter
DEC. 12, RICHARD H. KOBREN MEMORIAL GYMNASIUM -
The Blair girls junior varsity basketball team suffered their first loss of the season yesterday at the hands of the Walter Johnson Wildcats 42-29, dropping their record on the season to 2-1.
The Blazers had a halftime lead but saw their cushion vanish during a second-half that Walter Johnson dominated. The Blazers' offense had trouble getting anything started and they slowly fell behind a Walter Johnson team that put forth a noteworthy defensive effort forcing numerous turnovers. Blair also had a strong defense, but foul trouble plagued them throughout the game giving Walter Johnson easy opportunities to score.
Blair led at halftime 17-14 despite being down 10-2 early in the first quarter. Walter Johnson went on a scoring spree in the third quarter scoring 12 straight points giving themselves a 30-19 and this margin proved to be insurmountable. Blair closed the gap to six at 33-27 in the fourth quarter, but couldn't get any closer.
Blair's offense had trouble getting open shots and capitalizing on opportunities, shooting a low field goal percentage. The Blazers were lead by sophomore co-captain and forward Monique Eldridge who had 13 points. Eldridge played well both defensively and offensively, but looked tired towards the end of the game because of her endless battle in the paint.
Freshman forward Ashley Bayton added 9 points and continues to be a reliable source of scoring, but was not enough to take the pressure off of Eldridge. Freshmen guard Christina Hayden added four points and was burdened with carrying the ball up-court all night because of fellow guard Krista Byrd's absence. Sophomore co-captain Sarah Kenney added 3 points.
Blair coach Julia Nation thought her team played a solid game, but continues to have problems with running their offense. "We're not making shots, we're missing free throws, we've been shooting the ball under 40 percent from the floor," she explained. "It's hard to win that way."
She attributes part of the loss to a lack of energy. "A lot of it had to do with us being tired," she added. "They had a lot of depth and fresh people in there."
Blair's next game will be at Watkins Mill on December 16.