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Boys Basketball: Ron Ashlaw getting settled in at Bloom

Bloom head coach RAshlaw during game against Marian Catholic for Chicago Heights Classic Championship Marian Catholic Friday November 29th 2013

Bloom head coach Ron Ashlaw during the game against Marian Catholic for the Chicago Heights Classic Championship at Marian Catholic, Friday, November 29th, 2013, in Chicago Heights, IL. | Gary Middendorf~For Sun-Times Media

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Updated: January 6, 2014 12:42PM



Bloom finished 2-2 in the Chicago Heights Classic, the two losses coming to Hillcrest and crosstown Marian Catholic, the latter in the tournament’s championship.

First-year Blazing Trojans coach Ron Ashlaw took plenty of positives out of the defeats.

Bloom hung tough with a highly touted Marian squad before falling 79-73.

“Our system is brand new, and with holidays, we haven’t gotten to practice as much as we’d like,” Ashlaw said. “We’re going to be going up against programs that have it rolling for 10-12 years and have all their bedrock principles down pat.

“That said, to play against a (Marian) team that’s definitely one of the teams that has their name in the hat of teams that could win a state championship and hang with them when we didn’t play that well, that’s a whole heck of a lot to build on.”

Ashlaw came to Bloom from Waukegan, where he went 109-60 over six seasons, finishing second in the state in Class 4A in 2008-09 and third the following season.

He replaced Jasper Williams, who led the Blazing Trojans to four 20-plus win seasons in 10 years at the helm and finished fourth in Class 4A in 2012.

So what is Ashlaw trying to instill into his new players?

The list is long.

“Offense, defense, everything,” he said. “I don’t think we’ve scored on any of our inbounds plays yet, so we’ve got to work on those. Transition offense, transition defense, not turning the ball over, patience at times, attacking other times.”

After a poor start against Marian — Bloom was behind 39-24 at halftime — Ashlaw saw plenty to build on in the second half.

“Our defensive game plan was to limit their opportunities in the paint and, in the first half, the red carpet was pretty much rolled out for them at times,” Ashlaw said. “We played better defensively in the second half and we got the ball inside offensively. That was the game plan.”

Ashlaw has gotten his first taste of one of the Southland’s biggest rivalries.

“Real rivalries are all good, all intense,” he said. “That’s nothing new for me. These are a new set of rivalries, though. They’re fun.”

Senior guard Zerell Jackson, senior forward Jared Johnson and junior forward Mickhiell Harris all were named to the Chicago Heights Classic All-Tournament team.

Johnson had 20 points against Marian while Harris added 17 points and seven rebounds.

Ashlaw also has been impressed with his young players coming off the bench, including sophomoes Jamal Parks, Equan Reid and Jeriel Butler.

“(In the loss to Hillcrest), the young guys came in and kind of stabilized the disaster,” Ashlaw said. “That’s a good sign. Those guys are all hankering for a chance to play. They’re hungry.

“I like my team now, and I think I’ll like it a lot more in a few weeks once we get established.”



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