RICHTON PARK | Bloom Township coach Ron Newquist knew his team would have to play big Saturday afternoon against a larger Hillcrest middle.
Unfortunately, the effort was never there and the Blazing Trojans were dominated down low.
Hillcrest out rebounded The Times No. 3 Blazing Trojans, 46-24, on its way to a 73-44 victory over Bloom Township in the opening round of the Galaxy Tournament at Rich South. Danielle King and Ariana Dampier each scored 12 for the Blazing Trojans in the loss.
"Terrible effort on the boards especially," Newquist said. "We're small as it is, and I've been telling them that we have to rebound with a pack mentality all year. I don't think we boxed out one time."
Hillcrest jumped on the Blazing Trojans early, taking a 20-10 lead after one quarter. Hillcrest then opened its lead to 15 by halftime. The Blazing Trojans (1-1) were unable to contend with Hillcrest center and power forward, Shayla Joyner and Tierra Sanders, who combined for 40 points and 27 rebounds against the smaller Bloom post players.
"Their zone really slowed us down and we weren't really able to get out in transition," King said. "They were very physical. We didn't do a good job of boxing out and sealing the defenders."
After applying full-court pressure, the Blazing Trojans pulled to within ten in the third quarter. But that was as close as they would come the rest of the way.
Bloom suffered a scary moment early in the fourth quarter when King banged knees with a Hillcrest player and did not return. King and Newquist each emphasized that the junior point guard would be OK.
"I'll be fine for the next game," King said.
King finished with five assists and four steals to go along with her 12 points. The Blazing Trojans were plagued by foul calls throughout the game, and four Bloom Township girls fouled out. Hillcrest finished 17 of 36 from the free-throw line, while Bloom Township was just 3 of 9 from the charity stripe.
"You can point to a million things in this game," Newquist said. "But if you don't rebound, you don't have a chance to win."
Rich South defeated Seton Academy, 61-46, in the second game of the day. Brittany Hardeman led the Sting with 14 points.
Seton also lost, 58-49, to Lincoln-Way North as Hardeman had 16 points. Ebony Bailey had 14 for the Sting (1-3).