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Dec. 10, 2017

Blair boys' basketball trounced by the Thomas Stone Cougars

by Madeleine Tilley, Staff Writer
The Blair Blazers (0-1) were defeated by the Thomas Stone Cougars (1-0) by a score of 71-42 in their first game of the season on Tuesday night. By the end of the first quarter, the Cougars were far ahead of the Blazers, making it almost impossible for the Blazers to get anywhere close to bridging the gap. A new team still learning to play together and a weak defense still working out the kinks left the Blazers vulnerable, and the Cougars were able to capitalize all night long.

The game took off after Blair won the tip off but quickly lost the ball to the Cougars, who proceeded to put in shot after shot early. The Blazers refused to give up and continued to fight back, but at the end of the first quarter, seniors Bobga Gang and Nathaniel Worku were the only ones to score. Stone's strong defense made it hard for the Blazers to reach the basket, forcing them to take difficult shots that weren't falling. By the time the first quarter ended, the Blazers were far behind, trailing 23-4.

In the second quarter, Stone picked up right where they left off, preventing Blazers from scoring and increasing their lead to 25-4 with a quick lay-up. Blair then increased its offense and junior Ethan Ellis scored, trying to make up for lost ground. Blazers kept up the offense, drawing two fouls and earning a few back to back free throws, bringing themselves up to 25-9.

Blair took a quick timeout to discuss strategy after they missed a few shots and then promptly stole the ball back from the Cougars halfway down the court to score another basket while being cheered on by a reinvigorated home crowd. Blair also stepped up their defense in quarter two, only letting Stone score six points after their offensive explosion in the first quarter. Blair's offense persevered and scored six more points for the Blazers, bringing the first half score to 29-18.

After halftime, the game started back up again in a heated back and forth with no baskets made by either side until the Blazers' defense slipped up and the Cougars broke through with a lay-up, increasing their lead once again. With no end to the Cougars scoring in sight, the Blazers did their best to close the gap, scoring 17 more in the third, but they were not able to match Stone's added 21 points. The third quarter passed quickly, with the Blazers trailing, 50-35.

By the fourth quarter, it was apparent the Blazers were tired as the Cougars fought off exhaustion and persevered with high levels of energy. Within the first few minutes of the quarter, senior Joshua Malone drove to the hoop and was fouled by a Cougar defender. Malone made both free throws, earning the Blazers an extra two points. The excitement did not last long however, as Thomas Stone kept scoring at will, and left the Blazers in the dust. With less than two minutes left on the clock, freshmen Jacob Briggs and Alfred Worrell Jr came into the game and scored one basket each, ending the game with the score of 71-42.

Going into the game, varsity coach Damon Pigrom had no expectations as Blair has never played Thomas Stone before and had no idea what to expect. "We were going in blind, basically," he said. To Pigrom, the disappointing result of the first game of the season just means that they have much more to work on before the next game. "This is a new team, we've only been practicing together for two weeks," he said. "We have a lot to work on."

The Blazers will play again Thursday, December 7 against the Colonels at Magruder HS at 5:30.



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