RICHTON PARK | Bloom Twp. had a little bit of a letdown before Friday's game against Rich South and it showed.
It took a whole half for the Blazing Trojans to jump-start their offense before LeJavious Jackson got the hot hand and Bloom rolled past Rich South 43-26 to remain in sole possession of first place in the Southland Athletic Conference.
Rich South star Macari Brooks had to sit out after he was called for two technical fouls in the Stars' previous game.
"It was kind of a letdown and we let it get to us," Bloom Twp. junior Donald Moore said. "We were looking forward to playing against him because you want to play against the best.
"We figured they would come out fired up, but they didn't seem to be."
Bloom Twp. (10-5, 4-0) forced the Stars (10-5, 2-2) into 23 turnovers and the final total was the fewest points allowed by the Blazing Trojans this season. On offense, Bloom could not get anything going as it led 16-13 in a sloppy first half.
Jackson made three 3-pointers, two of them back-to-back in the third quarter to give his team a 26-15 lead.
"I was open and we needed to get something going," Jackson said. "Coach (Jasper Williams) told me to shoot if I was open because we were having a hard time with their (2-3) zone. I think it opened some things up for us.
"We knew they were a different team without Brooks. He can score from anywhere and it's tough when your top scorer is out."
Williams said his team didn't look too good in the first half, so he told them to be more aggressive.
"We were standing around and couldn't get anything going," Williams said. "Once we kicked the ball inside on their 2-3, we got some baskets, but we still missed a few easy ones."
The Blazing Trojans have one home game in January and travel to Crete-Monee -- a winner over Rich Central -- next Friday, for another SAC showdown. They must play the Warriors twice and they also face Rich South at home in February.
"I was proud of how we played defense because that is what I preach," Williams said. "As long as they play hard and hit the boards. We've got some tough ones coming up."