Indians can't get over the hump against Blazing Trojans

    There was a chance, but in the end, it was Bloom Township escaping the same fate that befell Danville earlier in the day. The top-seeded Blazing Trojans were able to get past the determined hosts 57-48 in the opening round of the 88th Pontiac Holiday Tournament Thursday evening.
    A 20-point run for the Trojans over the final four minutes of the first quarter and the first two minutes of the second put Pontiac in a deep hole, this after the Indians had taken an 8-2 lead.
    Bloom led 12-8 at the end of the first quarter and stretched the lead to 36-18 by halftime after Jeremiah Johnson buried a long 3-pointer from above the top of the key as time ran out.
    “They turned up their defense starting in the second quarter, when they put their foot on the gas and we had problems,” Pontiac head coach Durrell Robinson said. “They took us out of what we wanted to do.
    “Bloom is arguable the top team in the state, there’s a reason four kids have Division-I offers. We knew what we were coming into.”
    Despite missing two points guard out with ankle sprains, the Indians did show moxy in the second half in fighting back. Joe Murphy scored inside and outside and Ryan Weir added a basket as the Tribe put together seven straight points midway through the third period to cut the margin to 40-31.
    All of a sudden, the Indians were making Bloom work.
    Although the Trojans were able to regain some of its lead back, their 47-33 advantage heading into the final frame was still going to be challenged.
    Payton Amm hit a 3-pointer with 5:59 to go to make it a 50-41 game. Weir made one of two free throws with 5:10 left to make it 50-42.
    Bloom had it chances to score, but PTHS kept getting stops.
    “I’m proud of my guys for fighting. I’m proud of our defense,” Robinson said. “We played great team defense which gave us a shot. That’s all you can ask for.”
    One stop came when Bloom’s Kevin Vance was called for a technical for hanging on the rim after missing a dunk with 3:54 remaining in the game. Pontiac, down eight, had a chance to cut the deficit in half, if not to one possession.
    But Weir missed both technical free throws and a missed 3-pointer gave the ball back to Bloom.
    “When you’re playing elite teams, you can’t miss out on opportunities,” Robinson said. “Numerous times I remember moving the ball pretty well and missing layups, getting offensive rebounds and missing layups. You have to take advantage of those when you want to beat teams at this level.”
    Dane Maddox Jr. scored on a dunk after a Pontiac turnover, and another PTHS miscue allowed for Keshawn Williams to score on a put-back that pushed Bloom’s lead to 54-42 with 2½ minutes left.
    The Indians got no closer than Murphy’s basket with 33 seconds to go that created the final score.
    “We played horrible and we played without energy and passion and it showed,” Maddox Sr. said. “Not only do we owe it to ourselves to play better, we owe it to the great Pontiac fans who come here to see a No. 1 seed play like one, and we did not do that tonight.”
    Williams had 17 points for Bloom (12-0).
    Weir led Pontiac (6-8) with 17 points, Murphy threw in 14 and Max Gschwendtner chipped in 8. Amm hit for 5 points and Mike Davis added 4 points.
    Pontiac will take on West Aurora at 6 p.m. today. Bloom will meet Oak Park-River Forest at 7:30 p.m.