Zeki Blanding had not been feeling well and missed a team practice, which meant she didn't start last night's home game at Lee. She was sent into the game with 4:04 left in the first quarter, though, and her 22 points doomed Annandale, as the Lancers registered a 65-48 Gunston District victory that ended the Atoms' six-game winning streak.
"If you're not at practice you can't start," said Lee Coach Lori Barb. "It's a school policy.
"She makes a big difference. She does everything. She rebounds, blocks shots and is a good passer. We got off to a rough start, but we were up for Annandale . . . they are a good team."
Lee (11-5) received strong play from senior forward Tasha Courtney, who scored 20 points, 16 in the first half to go with 12 by Blanding.
"As long as Tasha comes along, they couldn't key on Zeki," Barb said. "She is probably our most improved player on the team."
The score was just 3-2, Lee, when Blanding came in. And with her in the lineup alongside Courtney, who moved over from her customary forward position to handle the opening tip, the Lancers wielded a potent inside scoring attack and raced to to a 39-22 halftime advantage. The only worry for Lee was stopping Keri Chaconas (19 points), who was starting to warm up from the outside.
Annandale (11-4), trailing by 19-5 midway through the second quarter, made its move behind the aim of Chaconas. She scored on a layup and, after a miss by Courtney, swished a three-pointer from the top of the key, forcing a Lee timeout.
The Lancers quickly righted themselves by putting more pressure on Chaconas and patiently working the ball inside.
"We have a really good team and are starting to play well together," said Courtney. "We knew that we had to stop Chaconas, because she is a really good shooter."
Blanding echoed her teammate's sentiments: "We had to stop Chaconas. We are playing well and will take it one game at a time." A (11-4) -- Brenman 11, Brown 11, Long 5, Mayhugh 2, Chaconas 19. Totals 18 10 48. L (11-5) -- Courtney 20, Blanding 22, Fletcher 6, Carlin 6, Bowling 2, Hall 2, Dowe 7. Totals 26 13 65.
Halftime: Lee, 39-22.
Three-point goals: Annandale 2 (Chaconas 2).