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Blazers girls, boys out

February 27, 1999|By BILL STERNER / Staff Correspondent

LONACONING, Md. -  Hanging on the wall among the retired jerseys as you enter the gymnasium at Westmar High is the one worn by Mac Sloan, who once scored 66 points in a basketball game.

For the Clear Spring boys, the memento could have been taken as a warning.

Westmar's sharpshooters hit seven 3-pointers, four of them during a 14-2 run late in the first quarter, to break open a close game and outdistance the Blazers 99-62 in a first-round state playoff game.

Clear Spring had yet another valiant effort, but the combination of Blazer youth and the hot shooting of the Wildcats was a formula that eliminated Clear Spring.

"First, I want to say that I am proud of my kids for hanging in there," Blazers coach Daryl Huntsberger said. "We stayed positive in the game, and when things started to get away from us, they tried all the harder."

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The Blazers were outmatched sizewise from the start, and soon, they found out that Westmar (5-13), had speed in the transition game. From the start, when Clear Spring took a 3-0 lead, the Wildcats attacked both offensively and defensively. And the speed of the Westmar fastbreak caught the Blazers backpedaling.

Grabbing rebounds and hitting their streaking guards on the wings, Westmar raced to a 31-11 lead at the end of the first quarter.

And nothing was more disheartening to the Blazers than a two-minute period in that quarter that ended up being the key to the game.

Westmar's Josh Glass hit two 3s and then Jamie Clark and Rick Parrish followed with 3s. Suddenly, an eight-point Wildcat lead blossomed to 20.

"We were definitely hurt by that run they had,'' Huntzberger said. "We called two timeouts and switched defenses four times, but nothing slowed them down."

"We shot the ball about as well as we could," Westmar coach Rick Scaletta said. "Up to that point, (Clear Spring) was in the game."

And although the Blazers were able to right the ship somewhat in the second quarter, more than enough damage had been done.

In the second half, Clear Spring's young guards partially turned things around as they were able to dribble through the Wildcats' loose matchup zone and realize some success.

Justin Michael ended the game with 20 points for the Blazers, and Josh Keyton scored 11. In fact, 43 of the Blazers total points were scored by underclassmen.

In the girls game, the return of Blazers point guard Jessica Jones wasn't enough as Westmar used a third-quarter, 17-4 run to eliminate Clear Spring, 66-39. Jones, who missed the last five games for Clear Spring had 20 points.

But it was the transition game in the second half that caught the Blazers a little flat-footed.

Clear Spring trailed by only 30-23 at the half, and twice in the third quarter cut the lead to a mere six points. The pinpoint shooting of Jones and the rebounding of Aleshire kept the Blazers close to the light-shooting Wildcats.

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