Girls Basketball: Bloom defeats Pickering North (Ohio)
By Tony Baranek email@example.com January 20, 2014 4:44PM
Updated: January 20, 2014 9:51PM
A three. Another three. A putback. Another putback.
In barely the blink of an eye, Bloom found itself trailing 10-0 in Monday’s Willowbrook McDonald’s Prep Classic battle against Ohio visitor Pickerington North.
Blazing Trojans coach Ron Newquist called his second timeout.
His message? He stressed patience. One possession at a time.
It took 20 of them, but the Blazing Trojans fought back into a tie. From there they went toe to toe with Pickerington in a dogfight they eventually won 65-60.
Danielle King led the way for Bloom (8-12) with 26 points, while Anika Johnson added 20 and Ariana Dampier nine. Alayna Khan (16 points) led Pickerington (8-6).
The win brought a high point in a season during which injuries and being young (only one senior) have led to some uneven — and mentally challenging — results.
On Monday, King was all smiles.
“It’s the hardest we’ve played all year,” she said. “It feels good to win and gain some momentum going (back) into conference play.”
Pickerington’s early salvo peaked at a 13-1 lead. The Blazing Trojans were down 22-13 early in the second period before the tide took a big turn.
King went on an 9-0 run by herself, hitting a three, a putback and back-to-back driving layups to create a 22-all tie. Pickerington responded with a flurry of three-pointers, totaling six for the first half and taking a 36-33 edge into intermission.
Bloom’s deficit was at 42-34 when Johnson nailed a key three. The Blazing Trojans later took their first lead at 48-46 on two free throws by King.
“We decided in our heads, ‘Ladies, we need to go out there and play our hardest,’ ” Johnson said. “We knew what we could do. We needed to go out and attack and do better on defense.”
A key element defensively was better coverage on the perimeter. To that end, Pickerington was only able to connect for one three-pointer in the second half. The Blazing Trojans also ball-hawked with much more success.
“We saw that their foot-speed wasn’t as fast as ours so we used our athleticism,” King said. “We got after the ball, jumping in the passing lane, reading the ball as it was flying in the air.”
Trailing 60-59 with just under three minutes remaining, Bloom scored the final six points of the game on five free throws by King and another by Jailyn Lumpkin. King had a big steal with 6.2 seconds remaining, preventing Pickerington from having a chance to shoot a potential game-tying three.