LANSING | With top player Kat Strong out for the season with a torn ACL, Danielle King knew she and her Bloom Township teammates would have to step it up.
It took King a quarter to get going, but when she did, she took control to lead the Blazing Trojans to a 61-38 win over Illiana Christian in both team's season opener on Tuesday.
King finished with 17 points and 10 rebounds. She also had four steals. Teammate Anika Johnson had the early hot hand with six of her game-high 18 points in the first quarter.
"We did get off to a slow start, especially me with the two quick fouls," King said. "With Kat out, I know it is my responsibility to lead. We all have to play together."
Both teams got out the gate slow as Illiana Christian committed 12 first-quarter turnovers and Bloom nine. For the game, the Vikings had 35 turnovers, while Bloom had 25.
Johnson said she wanted the team to get out to a fast start and also had 10 rebounds.
"I felt real good out there," Johnson said. "We came out strong, but we had a few turnovers. With Danielle in foul trouble, I just felt I had to step up, get some boards, get some inside baskets.
"We all have to play together and once we did tonight, we got some things going.
The Blazing Trojans led 31-21 at halftime and opened up a 46-32 lead after three.
Illiana freshman Bria Cole led the Vikings with 13 points and Gabby Kreykes had five points, four assists and four steals. Cole said there is a lot of adjustments to playing varsity ball.
"I was a little nervous at first, but once we got going, I felt OK out there," Cole said. "I think we played hard and we just have to talk more and work together."
Bloom coach Ron Newquist said he was happy to get a win, but his team has some work to do, especially at the free-throw line where it was 15 of 37.
"We missed a lot of those and if we made a few, we could have put the game away earlier," Newquist said. "We made some first-game mistakes, but those we can correct."