By Curt Herron
After watching his Bloom squad settle for a 20-17 halftime lead over Rich East on Friday, coach Jasper Williams issued a challenge.
And that was for the Blazing Trojans to become more aggressive both attacking the basket while also picking up the intensity on defense.
That challenge was answered in a big way as Bloom outscored the Rockets 24-7 in the third quarter to help it claim a 64-44 Southland Athletic Conference win in Chicago Heights.
Rich East played a good first half and was more aggressive than we were, Williams said. So at halftime we got on the guys and told them to drive the ball to the basket and get a little more aggressive on the defensive end, which led to some easy baskets on the other end.
The Rockets (9-13, 2-4) overcame an early 7-0 deficit to grab the lead for the only time at 17-16 following a basket from Anthony Perkins (nine points) late in the second quarter.
But Bloom (19-3, 5-1) got a pair of layups from Zerell Jackson (11 points) after that to move back in front and claim a three-point halftime advantage.
The run continued after the break as seven different Blazing Trojans contributed points to help their team build up a 44-24 lead through three quarters.
Donald Moore (13 points) and Lejavius Johnson (seven points) scored five points apiece while Henry Hicks (11 points) and Dejahown Freeman (six points) added four points each in the third period.
At halftime, coach told us to pick it up on defense since thats our offense, Moore said. That helped us get a lot of steals, fast breaks and layups. We knew that Rich East was going to come out hard since they were coming after us.
Jataryan Dejaraux added seven rebounds for Bloom while Rich East also received 11 points from Don Henderson and 10 points and seven rebounds from Ronald Lawton.
We came out flat in the third quarter and you cant do that against Bloom since theyre very good at expanding on a lead, Rockets coach George Leonard said. I thought that we did a pretty good job defensively during the first half but they killed us on the boards.