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Bloom played sluggishly from the start on Tuesday night. Even after committing turnovers and missing shots, the Blazing Trojans still were effective with its defense in pulling away to a 55-34 victory over Joliet Central at Bloom Trail.
“I don’t know why but I think it’s human nature to play down to your competition,” Bloom forward James Coleman said. “We weren’t as focused as we should have been.”
Bloom committed 10 turnovers and shot free throws at just a 53 percent clip in the first half but still found itself leading 24-13 due in large part to its defense. The Blazing Trojans (13-3) forced the Steelmen (9-7) to shoot just 17 percent from the field in that same half.
“You’re not going to shoot well every game and you might not make your free throws either,” Bloom coach Jasper Williams said. “But you have to play defense to be successful. If they want to get on the floor, they have to play defense.”
Johnny Griffin had his game going in the first half. The 6-4 senior scored all eight of his points and pulled down seven of his 11 rebounds in that half.
From there, Coleman and Zerrell Jackson took matters into their hands in the third quarter as Bloom pulled away. Jackson scored eight points including a pair of three pointers and Coleman scored six straight points using his power around the basket to accomplish that task. Any semblance of a Joliet comeback was snuffed out with those efforts as Bloom opened up a 42-24 third-quarter lead.
“I was trying to be patient early on and coach did not like that,” Coleman said. “I was just focusing on getting the ball and going up strong. It only takes one player to get hot and it creates a chain reaction.”
Jackson led Bloom with 11 and Coleman added 10.
Jonah Coble led the Steelmen with eight points.