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Bloom's Zerell Jackson drives past Homewood-Flossmoor's Thaddeus Little for a score on 1/22/13. | John Booz~for the Sun-Times Media
Bloom junior Zerell Jackson had never hit a game-winning shot before Tuesday. The talented guard was on the Blazing Trojans’ varsity squad last year, apprenticing behind Donald Moore, so there wasn’t a ton of playing time.
Even before that, Jackson had never managed to hit that magical buzzer-beater. Not freshman year, or in junior high or elementary school or youth ball.
He even missed his first attempt on Tuesday, it was swatted away by Homewood-Flossmoor’s 6-8 forward Tai Odiase.
Jackson stuck with the play. He drove the lane and drained a floater as the buzzer sounded to give Bloom a 43-41 win over the Vikings in Chicago Heights.
“First one ever,” Jackson said. “I kind of knew I was going to shoot [on the first attempt]. But I didn’t think he was going to block the shot. I didn’t think he was that big. When I got the ball back I was just hoping to get something off before the buzzer.”
Senior Dejahown Freeman, Bloom’s veteran leader, was proud of his teammate.
“They were face guarding me on the last play,” Freeman said. “I’m glad he has the confidence now to take that shot like a leader. He put it on himself and then he stayed after it when he missed.”
Jackson scored 16 and Freeman added 10 and four rebounds for Bloom (15-3).
“Jackson learned playing behind Moore,” Bloom coach Jasper Williams said. “He really sets the tone with his defense more than his offense. If he isn’t scoring he’s still a big factor for us.”
Bloom took over 1:30 off the clock before getting the final shot.
“I’m not surprised H-F didn’t put us at the line,” Williams said. “Defense is their m.o. that’s how they play. We just got the bounce tonight.”
Thaddeus Little led Homewood-Flossmoor (12-5) with eight points and 6-5 Maurius hill added seven points and a game-high 10 rebounds.
The Vikings struggled to score in the first three quarters, but caught fire to start the fourth, opening with a 11-0 burst to lead 37-33.
“When they got the lead coach told us to just stay calm and focused,” Freeman said.