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Bloom coach Ron Newquist knows it.
The Blazing Trojans know it.
Opposing coaches and players know it.
Averaging 19 points and 16 rebounds per game, Bloom senior forward Bria Gaines is going to get the ball.
“Bria is going to get double and triple teamed every night,” Newquist said. “We’re struggling right now to find our way as a shooting team. We shot better tonight, but we also need to get out in the open court.”
Gaines scored 14 points and to go along with eight rebounds Monday as Bloom dominated host Joliet Central 50-27 in a nonconference game. Sophomore guard Katherine Strong (12 rebounds) and senior Mariah Middleton scored 15 points apiece for the Blazing Trojans (5-3).
Bernasia Fox led Joliet Central (2-5) with 10 points.
Leading 8-5 late in the first quarter, Bloom’s offense came to life. Strong hit two free throws to jump start a fast-paced final two minutes. Middleton banked in a three-pointer at the first quarter buzzer with Bloom scoring nine points in just 1:56.
Strong continued her hot play in the second, showing off her all-around game with a baseline jumper and two nice post moves that produced easy layups.
Bloom’s extended 26-9 run over the first and second quarters helped the Blazing Trojans take a commanding 34-14 halftime lead.
“The key we’ve been focusing on is defensive rebounding,” Newquist said. “We’re not always going to have good offensive nights.”
Joliet Central shot just 3-of-20 from the field in the second quarter (6-of-32 in the first half), including eight misses in the lane. The Steelmen committed 11 first half turnovers.
“The ball just doesn’t drop sometimes,” Joliet Central coach Brian Reed said. “The only way to get out of that is to keep shooting. We shoot a lot of jump shots in practice, and I tell the girls ‘Sometimes it doesn’t fall.’ I’m proud of the girls though.”