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Boys Basketball: Bloom up early, up late against Niles West

Bloom's DalvEchols moves around Jojo Rios Niles West. | Patrick Gleason/For Sun-Times Media

Bloom's Dalvin Echols moves around Jojo Rios of Niles West. | Patrick Gleason/For Sun-Times Media

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Updated: January 28, 2014 6:30AM

Bloom’s Jared Johnson knew Thursday’s first-round game at the Pontiac Holiday Tournament was a golden opportunity to showcase his talents and prove his team belongs with the area’s elite.

He took every advantage of the opportunity, finishing with 27 points and 10 rebounds in Bloom’s 87-58 win over Niles West.

Johnson shot 12-of-16 from the field and 3-of-3 from three-point range. He dazzled the morning crowd, scoring on drives to the basket, hook shots in the lane, long-distance jumpers and breakaway dunks.

“I’ve had some teams that weren’t ready to play at 9 a.m.,” Bloom coach Ron Ashlaw said. “These guys were ready. They were even eating breakfast fast.”

“We just wanted to be here,” Johnson said. “We even woke up extra early to get some shots up. The whole team was just excited to come out here and play.”

Before Thursday, Johnson was averaging 16.5 points, 6 rebounds and 5 assists.

“That was my best game of the season so far,” Johnson said. “My ankle is finally feeling better, so I think I can start doing that consistently.”

This is Bloom’s first time at Pontiac since 1981. Bloom Trail was in the tournament in 1994. The Blazing Trojans made an instant impact, serving notice they can compete with Oak Park-River Forest and Simeon for a spot in Saturday’s title game.

Thursday’s game was close for a quarter, with Bloom leading 19-15. A 15-2 Bloom run early in the second quarter started to put the game out reach. The Blazing Trojans (7-3) opened the third with a 11-0 run to seal it.

Bloom’s Jamal Parks scored 17 points, Zerell Jackson had 11 and center James Coleman added 10 points and eight rebounds.

Ahmad Gibson led Niles West (4-6) with 16 points and Romeo Magloire added 15.

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