CHICAGO HEIGHTS | Bloom Township junior guard Zerell Jackson had never hit a game-winning shot in his life — until Tuesday night.
He had two chances and hit a floater as time ran out to give Times No. 2 Bloom Township a 43-41 win against No. 4 Homewood-Flossmoor on Wes Mason Court at M'Cann Gym.
His first attempt was blocked by H -F's Tai Odiase, but went right back into his hands and he made good. That was after Homewood-Flossmoor fouled the Blazing Trojans (16-3) and then called a timeout with 21 seconds left.
There was no doubt who was going to take the shot.
“I kind of knew I was going to shoot, but I didn’t think he (Odiase) was going to block the (initial) shot," Jackson said. "I didn’t think he was that big. When I got the ball back I was just hoping to get something off before the shot clock went off.”
It was a good feeling for the 5-foot-9 guard.
"I didn't know what to say, having never made one before," Jackson said. "After the timeout, we were in a 2-1-2 and they came at us man-to-man. We wanted to get a back screen for a good look (at the basket)."
Jackson finished with a game-high 16 points, while Dejahown Freeman had 10.
The Vikings (12-5) beat Bloom to win the Chicago Heights Classic in November and Freeman said he expected a battle.
"This was big for us because we know they are a good team and would come out and play us hard," Freeman said. "This was big for us and for Zeke to come up with that shot was great.
"Coach (Jasper Williams) told us they would make a run and we would have to stay composed."
The Blazing Trojans trailed 19-15 at half, but led 33-26 after three as Jackson had six points and Freeman five in the third quarter. H-F opened the fourth quarter with a 12-0 run to take 37-33 lead on Thaddeus Little's 3-point play.
Freeman was covered on the final play. H-F missed a shot and Bloom got the rebound and held the ball for the final 1 minute, 30 seconds.
The Blazing Trojans have won six straight and are undefeated in 2013. Their last loss was to Marian Catholic in the McDipper championship on Dec. 29.
Vikings coach Jim McLaughlin said it was a matter of his team not taking advantage of the opportunities.
"We just have to get better and we will work on things in practice," McLaughlin said. "We came out the third quarter and made a few mistakes, but we made a nice run. It just wasn't enough."