Blair's girls basketball team was a preseason pick to win the Montgomery County AA league, but the Blazers were routed by more than 20 points in a season-opening loss to Rockville.

But by midseason, the Blazers had turned their season around thanks to more disciplined play and the insertion of Tara Allen (a transfer from Michigan) into the starting lineup.

Last night, Blair met an improved Walter Johnson team in the Maryland Class AA Region II championship game at Blair, and in a dominant performance the Blazers fullfiled preseason expectations, beating Walter Johnson, 52-35, to advance to the state semifinals next weekend at Catonsville Community College.

Blair (15-10), trailed, 20-19, at intermission, but the shorter Spartans fell prey to Blair's strong inside game, led by senior Tracey Wyche (14 points, seven rebounds), and a fine floor game by Allen (game high 17 points).

"We just settled won and started playing our game because we are better than anybody in this county," said Wyche.

With Blair collecting almost every defensive rebound and scoring virtually at will from the lane, the Blazers moved out to a 32-22 lead with 3:14 remaining. Walter Johnson, which had lost to Blair twice during the regular season, just couldn't rally to make the game more intriguing.

"We were able to work wonders in the first half," said Walter Johnson Coach Mike O'Brien, whose team upset Springbook, 41-36, Wednesday night. "But they wore us down inside and we were not able to compete."