Boys Basketball: Rich East overcomes Bloom
By Pat Disabato firstname.lastname@example.org February 7, 2014 10:16PM
Bloom's James Coleman drives through Rich East's Don Henderson and Calvin Harrington during a basketball game in Chicago Heights, Il., on Friday, Feb.7, 2014. | John Smierciak/For Sun-Times Media
Updated: March 10, 2014 6:30AM
Quinton Moore and Rich East silenced any of their remaining critics Friday night against Bloom.
Moore exploded for 35 points as Rich East departed Chicago Heights with a 79-74 victory over Bloom in Southland Conference play.
It was 10th consecutive win for the Rockets (14-3, 5-2) and brought them to within a half-game of the Blazing Trojans (12-7, 5-1) in the conference.
Despite the loss of four starters from a season ago to graduation, Rich East has developed into one of the top teams in the area. Having Moore, who sat out last season after transferring from Indiana, is a big reason.
“There are no doubters in our locker room,” Rich East coach George Leonard said. “The doubters are everybody else. We lost four starters, our sixth man and our eighth man from last year. We knew it was going to take a little time to get together. It helps to have Quinton.”
The win also was a bit of a payback for Rich East, which suffered a 75-64 loss Dec. 13 to Bloom.
“They beat us down the first time,” Leonard said. “We’re a different team than we were in December.”
Bloom led 70-66 with 3:23 to go in the fourth quarter after hoops by Mickhiell Harris (10 points) and James Coleman (15).
The Rockets, however, countered with an 8-0 run to grab a 74-70 advantage with a minute remaining.
A layup by Coleman brought the Blazing Trojans to within 74-72. When Calvin Harrington (17 points) converted a three-point play with 42 seconds remaining to extend the Rockets’ lead to 77-72, Bloom was done.
Turnovers and poor decisions down the stretch proved fatal for the Blazing Trojans.
“Things started to tighten up,” Bloom coach Ron Ashlaw said. “That’s generally when decision-making and shot selection bites us.”
Bloom led 41-33 early in the third quarter before Moore took over. The senior guard scored 13 points in the period, using a variety of moves to the basket and jump shots to ignite a 10-0 run and eventual 53-51 Rockets advantage.
“We weren’t worried at all,” Moore said of the eight-point deficit. “We had to match their intensity. They’re a great defensive team and they play with high intensity.”
Bloom point guard Zerell Jackson was saddled by foul trouble and sat out most of the first half. He eventually fouled out in the four quarter, finishing with six points.
Jared Johnson’s 24 points led the Blazing Trojans, who converted 28-of-50 field goals.
Don Henderson added 10 points for Rich East.
“We came into their house and won,” Moore said. “I’m proud of my team.”