SPORT REPORT • BY TEIGHLER DOAK
Even though Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow, the winter sports regular season of 2011-2012 is quickly drawing to a close. Despite the Pennsylvania icon’s powers of prognostication, he’d be hard-pressed to predict playoff outcomes in the ultra competitive Maryland High School State Playoffs. Fortunately Blair athletes will rely on their own skills, rather than a groundhog.
Over the past week, the Montgomery Blair Girls Basketball Squad continued to increase their number in the wins column as they earned two victories in as many games.
The Lady Blazers (17-4, 9-1 in conference) first traveled to Whitman High School for a Valentines Day Showdown with the Vikings. Unfortunately for the Vikings, the Blazers were not in the loving mood as Montgomery Blair was able to hang on for a 55-54 road win.
Three days removed from a hard earned victory over Whitman, The Blazers jumped back on their buses, this time en-route to Wheaton High School. The Blazers proved to be too much for the outmatched Knights as Blair cruised to a 49-16 win.
The Lady Blazers will conclude their regular season (as winners of Montgomery County 4A East Division Championship) on Tuesday, February 21 when Einstein High School travels to Blair for a 5:15 p.m. tip-off.
According to the MPSSAA (Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association) — despite competing in the Montgomery County 4A East Division, the Lady Blazers will be the number four seed for the western side of the Maryland State Playoff Bracket. The Blazers will take on the 13th seeded, Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School in the first round of the tournament. Blair and Bethesda-Chevy Chase have met once this season with Blair knocking of Bethesda-Chevy Chase 46-22 back on December 14.
The Blazers will rely heavily on the senior leadership of leading scorer, Johanna Lopez. Lopez, a Sacred Heart University Commit, has lit up gym scoreboards all season, averaging just over 24 point per game. The team will also look to the sharp-shooting of senior guard, Myla Sapp. Sapp has knocked down a team leading, 16 shots from beyond the arc this season.
The Blair Boys Basketball Team earned a two game split over their past week of competition.
The Blazers (6-15, 1-9 in conference) began their previous week by traveling to Whitman High School. Despite an outstanding team effort that saw three Blazers score in double figures, Whitman High School was able to come away with a 57-51 victory.
Three days removed from the Whitman High School loss, the Blazers put their resiliency on display as they earned a 63-50, road victory over Wheaton High School. Senior guards, Theo Remy and Tucker Canary paced the Blazers in the victory. Remy tallied a team high 18-point effort with Canary chipping in 16.
The Blazers will put their regular season to bed, Tuesday, February 21 when they play host to Einstein High School.
Although the Blazers struggled in the regular season, the team still managed to earn a spot in the Maryland High School State Basketball Tournament. Like their female classmates, the boys will also be apart of the western bracket, despite participating in the Montgomery County 4A East Division. According to the MPSSAA, the Blazers, the fifth seed, will have a home contest against the 12 seeded Rockets of Richard Montgomery High School. The two teams did not meet in the regular season.
If the Blazers are to make a strong run deep into the state tournament, they will need to depend on a trio of senior guards in Rick Narcisse, Tucker Canary and Theo Remy. Narcisse leads the team in scoring, averaging 12.3 points per game. When it’s not Narcisse, Canary and Remy step up to the plate. Canary averages 11.6 points per game, good enough for second on the team. Remy leads the team in three-point shooting with 23 long-range buckets.
The wrestlers of Montgomery Blair will be back in action over the weekend with regional championships taking place February 24 through February 25 at Sherwood High School. In order for a wrestler to qualify for regionals, they must finish in the top eight of all wrestlers in their weight class during the regular season. Wrestlers are seeded according to overall record and the amount of points they score during the regular season. The top four finishers from each weight class will then advance to the state tournament. The MPSSAA has yet to announce seedings or matchups for the 2012 tournament
During the 2010-2011 season, three Blair wrestlers took part in the regional tournament. At the 112-pound weight class, now sophomore, Elijah Petty fell just short of reaching a birth to the state tournament. Petty was disqualified in his first round match against eventual tournament champion, Mac Raum. Following the disqualification, Petty defeated JC Mbimba. In the third round, Petty was defeated by Jacob Weaver, 5-3. Petty finished his inaugural regional tournament by pinning Jose Romero, earning the Blair freshman a sixth place finish. The road will be no easier in the 112-pound tournament this year, as five of the six top finishers from a year ago return.
At the 130-pound weight class, Billy Saturo, now a senior, was able to grab a third place finish. Saturo began the tournament by falling to Greg Holland 12-10. Undaunted, Saturo major decisioned his second round opponent, Ryan Sachs, 12-0. In the third round, Saturo edged Ryan Bausch by way of a 10-7 decision. In the third place final, Saturo extracted revenge when he slipped by the before-mentioned Holland, 7-5. The third place finish earned Saturo a trip to the state-wrestling tournament.
Now a senior, Chris Wells has also experienced the grueling two-day regional tournament. In 2011, Wells began the 135-pound bracket by defeating Will Bouten 17-9. In the second round, Wells ran into eventual champion Jordan Tolbert, Tolbert glided by Wells, earning a technical fall win by a 17-2 score. In the third round, Wells rebounded, earning a win over Jorge Villatoro. In the fourth round, Wells was defeated by Deon Nelson 3-1. In the fifth place final, Wells was downed by Kyle Seaman by a score of 9-7, giving Wells a sixth place finish. The 135-pound weight class looks to be competitive again as three of the top six-place holders return in the 2012 tournament.
For more information on Blair athletics visit: http://www.blairathletics.org