By Clyde Travis
Peoria After a team exerts itself like Bloom did in Fridays Class 4A state semifinal loss to Simeon, itd be hard to imagine that team would have anything left in the tank.
The Blazing Trojans attempted to salvage their weekend, but fell to Rockford Auburn 57-46 Saturday in the third-place game at Carver Arena.
It was nightmarish first quarter for Bloom (28-5), which shot 2-for-11 from the field.
The slow start definitely cost us," Bloom coach Jasper Williams said. "We were back on our heels all day."
Despite the cold opening, the Blazing Trojans trailed only 28-20 at halftime and were within striking distance at the end of the third quarter (36-25).
One of Blooms main problems was it had no answer for Rockford Auburn point guard Fred Van Vleet.
The Wichita State-bound Van Vleet led Rockford Auburn (32-3) with 21 points and five assists.
Bloom mounted one final charge that cut the deficit to 49-42 on a basket by Donald Moore with 2:43 remaining in the fourth quarter, but it wasnt enough.
Both coaches showed a bit of sportsmanship in the closing minutes as they turned the game over to the reserves.
"That was not Bloom you saw out there," Williams said. "We pride ourselves on tough defense and team-play, and we were just not focused today at all."
Moore, the teams leading scorer and captain, echoed his coachs sentiments.
"Its not the way we wanted to finish," Moore said. "We just couldnt get our heads into the game and thats not how we were taught to play."
Moore was the only Bloom player in double figures with 16 points. Dejahown Freeman contributed nine.
Auburn coach Bryan Ott said his team played with a chip on their shoulder.
"We lost twice to Proviso East and we wanted to leave here on a positive note, Ott said. "We know how people view us and we used that as motivation to beat a very good Bloom team."