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Boys Basketball: Bloom outlasts Joliet Central

Updated: April 10, 2014 6:43AM



Bloom coach Ron Ashlaw called Jared Johnson’s scoring ability “uncanny.”

So when the Blazing Trojans needed a bucket the most, it wasn’t a surprise to see Johnson delivering in the clutch.

The 6-foot-5 senior scored a game-high 21 points as Bloom jumped to an early lead and survived a furious rally from Joliet Central as the Blazing Trojans won their Class 4A regional 57-49 Friday night in Chicago Heights.

“When it comes down to it, I’ve got to be the real leader, because nobody can guard me out on the wing,” Johnson said. “I feel like every time I got it, I could face up, find a lane to the hole or hit one of my teammates.”

The Blazing Trojans (20-8) took a 32-16 lead into halftime after James Coleman powered through an intentional foul for a dunk. Bloom led 48-33 heading into the fourth quarter.

But Jonah Coble scored seven of his team-high 14 points in the fourth period as Joliet Central (18-10) went on a 14-2 scoring surge to open the frame, cutting Bloom’s lead 50-47 with just under two minutes to play on a Coble putback.

“We said it to our guys at halftime, ‘They’re gonna make a run, and it’s not just going to be a bit of a little run, it’s going to be a major one,’ ” Ashlaw said.

Johnson converted Bloom’s only field goal in the fourth quarter on layup for a 53-47 advantage with 1:05 to play. It would prove to be enough despite Bloom’s 13-of-30 performance from the free-throw line.

“We withstood them,” Ashlaw said. “It wasn’t always pretty or symphonic, but it was effective. We did enough to hang on.”

Coleman and Bloom’s starting backcourt of Zerell Jackson and Dalvin Echols all chipped in nine points. Coleman added seven rebounds and two blocks.

Joliet Central received 10 points from Jarvis Northington off the bench. Antonio Dyson added nine points and nine rebounds for the Steelmen.

Joliet Central led 11-9 after the first quarter, but Echolls hit Johnson for two second-quarter jumpers — the second of which came off a nifty seal against Central’s zone in the middle of the lane — for a 17-13 lead Bloom would never relinquish.

“(Johnson’s) as good in the middle of the floor against traps and pressure as any player I’ve ever had,” Ashlaw said.



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