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Danielle King, of Bloom, gets the break away basket against Crete-Monee at Crete-Monee, Thursday, December 13th, 2012 in Crete, IL | Gary Middendorf~for Sun-Times Media
As Bloom coach Ron Newquist put it, the Blazing Trojans must “ride the horse.”
The horse is 6-foot-2 Western Kentucky-bound center Bria Gaines and she delivered quite a strong kick down the stretch Thursday.
After Bloom trailed by one with just under three minutes left, Gaines scored seven straight points to lift her team to a 55-48 Southland Conference win over host Crete-Monee.
“When it’s time for her to step up, she really takes over,” Newquist said.
Gaines had 22 points and 14 rebounds and Danielle King added 16 points for the Blazing Trojans (8-3, 4-0).
Alexia DeBose (15 points, six rebounds) and Ashley Henry (10 points, 11 rebounds) led Crete-Monee (11-1, 3-1).
Gaines turned a putback into a three-point play to put Bloom ahead for good, 48-46, with 2:50 to go.
On Bloom’s next possession, Gaines fought off two defenders to catch a short lob pass and scored. She delivered inside again 22 seconds later to seal the victory.
“I count on my teammates a lot and I appreciate when they get me the ball in position to score,” Gaines said. “We really wanted this one because (Crete) was 11-0 and we wanted to come in here and stop it.”
Bloom led 19-16 at the half before the Warriors got hot, going 10-of-21 from the field in the third. DeBose scored eight points in the quarter, including a buzzer-beating runner for a 39-37 lead.
The Warriors went just 3-of-16 in the fourth quarter, though, as Bloom switched from a halfcourt trap back to man-to-man defense. Crete-Monee missed five three-point attempts in the final four minutes.
“That’s what we do,” Crete-Monee coach Christina Cobbins said. “We shoot the three and we’re going to stick to our game plan. You have to credit Bloom for bringing their ‘A’ game defensively.”
Katherine Strong had eight points and nine rebounds for Bloom. Marsha Howard contributed nine points and 10 rebounds for Crete-Monee.