Blast digs deep, finds a way to beat KiXX

20-10 win 1st over Philly

Wright records 11 points


January 07, 2002|By Glenn P. Graham | Glenn P. Graham,SUN STAFF

PHILADELPHIA - The win helps in the standings, solves a disturbing four-game mystery against the Philadelphia KiXX and salvages what could have been a potentially lost weekend.

But more than anything else, the Blast's 20-10 victory against the KiXX at First Union Spectrum yesterday was simply about what's inside.

As Blast captain Lance Johnson put it before the game: "Let's get some respect back."

So after its fourth consecutive loss against the KiXX on Friday, 17-12, followed by an unexpected heart-to-heart meeting on Saturday morning, the Blast answered every question with a little extra yesterday.

Midfielder Paul Wright led the offense with 11 points on four goals, Tarik Walker added one goal and three assists and Sean Bowers led a determined defensive front.

"It was very vital," Johnson said after the game. "And it counts double because it happened in their building. They smacked us in the mouth [Friday night] and we came and smacked back. To go down 5-0 [to the KiXX] would have been demoralizing, so we'll take this and build on it. Now, they see we can come into their building and beat them, and now that will be in their heads."

The Blast (8-9) was leading 11-4 late in the third quarter when the KiXX (12-5) got two-point goals from Don D'Ambra and Chris Handsor to make it 11-8 going into the fourth quarter.

"When they got close, you didn't see any sign of panic or any sense of urgency; we just relaxed and kept on having fun. It was a big win for us no doubt," Wright said.

And it was Wright who appeared to be having the most fun, scoring the pivotal goal at 3:32 of the fourth quarter when he raced past KiXX defender Drew Kopp at midfield to chase down a through ball from Danny Santoro to make it 13-8. Walker scored 32 seconds later - pushing the lead to 15-8 - and that was it.

"I thought it was a good gut-check time for us," Blast coach Kevin Healey said. "Before the fourth quarter I just said, `Here we are, we're ready to go, we know what we have to do, so let's get it done.' Paul Wright gets a big goal and Tarik gets another right behind it. That certainly was big."

A three-point goal from Bowers with 1:09 left in the half sent him over the 700-point plateau for his career, and also provided the Blast with a 9-4 lead at the half.

Two goals from Wright in a urgently played first quarter helped give the Blast a 6-2 lead, but the KiXX cut the lead to 6-4 on Chris Handsor's second two-pointer with 2:35 left in the half.

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