Dejahown Freeman just wanted to play through the fatigue.
No. 4 Bloom was coming off a thrilling though emotionally and physically draining double-overtime road victory over Rich East on Friday night. Freeman found his shot Saturday and gave the Blazing Trojans a decisive early boost by scoring 12 of his game-high 16 points in a four-minute burst during the first half as Bloom knocked off Leo 67-31 in Chicago Heights.
Coming off the bench, Freeman was a shock to the system of the Blazing Trojans (19-3), sparking a 13-0 run to end the first quarter.
“I was just trying to bring energy to the team,” Freeman said. “I was feeding off my teammates and they found me for open shots. And fortunately, I was able to knock them down.”
Freeman ended the first quarter with two free throws for a 17-4 Bloom lead. After Leo senior guard Marshon Tucker converted two free throws on the opening possession of the second quarter to end the run, Freeman knocked down back-to-back three-pointers, the first from the right wing and the second from the top of the key.
Freeman’s scoring prowess helped Bloom establish a 21-point first-half lead en route to a commanding 39-22 advantage at the break. Bloom coach Jasper Williams substituted liberally, and seven different Bloom players scored in the first half.
A hero in the Rich East game, junior forward Jared Johnson scored seven of his 11 points in the second half for Bloom. Senior forward Jataryan Dejareaux contributed eight points. Junior guard Zerell Jackson started the rout, scoring the Blazing Trojans’ first seven points. His three-pointer from the left wing initiated the game-changing 13-0 run.
Nine different players scored for the Blazing Trojans.
Traditional power Leo (1-18) saw its nightmare season continue. Coach Noah Cannon watched his two best players leave the program and transfer to Simeon in the summer. The Lions competed hard behind the perimeter game of Tucker (11 points) and freshman guard Darius Branch.
Branch scored a team-best 13 points. His three second-half field goals were the Lions’ only points from the field after intermission.
“To be honest with you, I didn’t even know their record until just now coming into the game,” Freeman said. “We know we’re a good team and we come out every game wanting to show that. We had a tough game last night and we had to come right back and play another tough team right away, so we had to come out and play hard.”