Blair’s boys’ and girls’ varsity basketball teams traveled to The Hill School to compete in the Mid-Atlantic Prep League (MAPL) tournament on February 8 and 9, and both teams won their respective championships.
A New Milestone for Girls’ Basketball
The varsity girls’ team achieved a new milestone on February 9, as it earned its 10th-consecutive MAPL championship with a 79-47 win over Lawrenceville. This game was never too big for the Bucs, as the girls opened with a 22-4 first-quarter score. Blair maintained a double-digit lead throughout the game.
Dominque Darius ’21 never took her foot off the gas pedal, scoring 25 points from all over the floor. Tabitha Amanze ’22 was a force to be reckoned with in the paint, where she scored 15 points.
“Obviously, we have a very talented group of individuals, but I am more impressed with the selfless attitude they all took toward improving the team,” said Quint Clarke ‘87, Blair head girls’ basketball coach. “While each player was driven toward individual growth, they were equally committed to our team goals and took genuine pleasure in the success of others.”
The Bucs compete next in the NJISAA prep “A” state semifinals on February 17 at Blair Academy.
Boys’ Basketball Earns a “Three-peat”
The varsity boys had one mission in their game on February 9—avenge their eight-point loss to Hill from earlier this season. Blair did just that, defeating the Blues 61-51 in the 2020 MAPL championship game and earning its third title in a row.
The beginning of the game was rocky, as Blair trailed at the end of the first quarter 7-14. At halftime, the Bucs were down 20-21.
But adversity would not stop this gritty squad, as the team rallied to end the third quarter up 39-33. Jaylen Blakes ’21 came through at the free throw line in the fourth, scoring 15 of his 18 points. He went 9-10 from the line. Luke Kolaja ’20 hit clutch threes down the stretch, adding 13 points, and Michael O’Connell ’20 remained a calming presence on the floor, chipping in 12 points.
“This weekend will go down as one of the most hard-fought MAPL championships we have won here, as we had to do it versus an elite team that had beaten us earlier in the year on their home court,” said Joe Mantegna, Blair head boys’ basketball coach. “The resilience and poise our squad showed in a hostile environment proved to be the difference. I couldn't be more proud of this group. That said, we still have work to do.”
This marks a “three-peat” for the boys’ basketball program, as well as their 12th overall MAPL title.
The varsity boys’ team plays again on February 17 in the NJISAA prep “A” state semifinals at Blair Academy.
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