Quince Orchard beats Blair 64-43
Nelson H. Kobren Memorial Gymansium, Dec.19
Coming into the game 4-0, the Blazers (4-1) had yet to be legitimately challenged. Quince Orchard (3-2) gave Blair all they could handle, en route to a dominating 64-43 victory over the Blazers.
Both teams opened up the game with sloppy play, turning the ball over and missing open shots. With the game still scoreless two minutes into the game, Quince Orchard coach Paul Foringer pulled out his whole starting lineup in order to try and get something going. The Blazers finally broke the scoreless tie when senior captain Julian Smith-Jones made a layup with 5:13 left in the first quarter. After a pair of threes from sophomore Danny Canary, the Blazers went up 8-6. The rest of the quarter, the teams traded buckets, but the Cougars led 14-12 after senior Charles Porter converted a layup as time was expiring in the first. Porter scored a game high 18 points to pace the Cougars.
Although Blair started off the second quarter strong, tying the game at 14 on their first possession, Quince Orchard was able to dominate the rest of the quarter and take a commanding lead into halftime. The Cougars continued to pull out their whole lineup in exchange for five new players, in an effort to keep everyone fresh. The strategy seemed to work as the Cougars brought a high defensive intensity and were able to force the Blazers into committing a slew of turnovers
Towards the end of the second quarter, Blair committed several loose ball fouls, giving Quince Orchard a chance to earn points from the free throw line. A dagger was dealt to the Blazers when Quince Orchard senior Eric Hoadley hit a three at the halftime buzzer to give the Cougars a commanding 32-20 lead at the break.
Another three by Hoadley, who finished with 11 points, put the Cougars up 37-22. Porter followed Hoadley with a three of his own just minutes later, giving Quince Orchard a 42-24 lead with 4:27 left in the third quarter. From there, the Cougars coasted to a 68-49 victory.
In the previous four wins for the Blazers, not one of their opponents had gotten to 50 points. Senior captain Justin Kung believed that the loss could be attributed to the team's lackluster defense, "Our past wins we kept them in the 40's, today we slipped on D," he said. "They played more disciplined than us, but we have to improve on defense."
Fellow captain Julian Smith-Jones echoed Kung's beliefs, "We let them get in the middle, on offense we are going to make shots but we have to play better defense."
The Blazers will have a quick turnaround, as they take on Paint Branch this Friday. If the Blazers can tighten up on defense they have a shot of entering the break with an impressive 5-1 record.
The Blazers play their next home game Jan. 2 at 5:15 pm against Springbrook.
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