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On Wednesday, Rich South players watched film of the previous night’s 73-63 non-conference loss to Glenbard East which left the Stars defense surrendering 70 or more points in all four of its losses.
“It was kind of embarrassing watching that,” senior Demitri Strickland said. “That’s things we can control. Playing with heart.”
The Stars picked up the intensity on Friday and clamped down on defense to upset No. 12 Bloom 47-44 in a Southland Conference opener in Richton Park.
“I gave them a lot of hell this week,” Rich South coach Scot Ritter said. “We’re not used to losing here. This was a big win.”
Strickland, who averaged 16 points and 10 rebounds a game heading into the contest for the Stars (2-4), was held to eight points and three boards but scored on a putback with 30 seconds left and added a free throw with eight seconds remaining to help seal the win. Sophomore Myles McCoy led the Stars with 11 points and Junior Darius Lee added 10 on 5-of-5 shooting.
Bloom (3-2, 0-1) came into the game stinging from a 49-46 loss to Homewood-Flossmoor in the title game of the Chicago Heights Classic. The Blazing Trojans led by as much as eight in the second quarter and seven in the third against South, but missing 15 three-pointers and scoring just six fourth-quarter points doomed the them.
“We didn’t hit our free throws, we didn’t rebound, we didn’t do anything right,” Bloom coach Jasper Williams said. “I don’t know if this group can turn it around.”
Jared Johnson led Bloom with 11 points but had just two in the second half.