Boys Basketball: LJ Johnson helps Bloom pull away
Updated: December 9, 2011 9:06PM
Limited by three fouls, Bloom’s L.J. Johnson spent much of the first half of Friday’s game against Rich Central on the bench.
Back on the court in crunch time, the senior guard came through with a huge fourth quarter to help lift host Bloom to a 52-39 win in both teams’ Southland Conference opener.
“Trying to come out and get the win, and we played terrible,” Johnson said. “It wasn’t the type of game we wanted to play so I wanted to come out (late) and do the best that I can.”
Dejahown Freeman paced No. 8 Bloom (7-0, 1-0) with 14 points off the bench with Donald Moore (10 points), Jataryan Dejaraux (nine) and Johnson (eight) contributing. Kyle Williams led Rich Central (2-6, 0-1) with 10 points to go with eight from Marquise King.
Having sat for much of the first half and third quarter, Johnson rejoined the lineup in the fourth having seen Rich Central cut a 14-point deficit down to three points at 40-37 following a Williams layup.
The Olympians stole the ball and had a chance to cut the deficit to one but missed another layup.
“We had a couple chances, but that layup cost us,” Central coach Bobby Smith said. “In a close game on the road, you need those things to happen for you.”
Johnson responded with a floater in the lane, and then tipped the ball to Moore on Central’s next possession. The steal led to a Nyhree Mitchell layup.
Down the stretch, the Blazing Trojans hit 8-of-11 free throws to pull away for the win, Johnson hitting four of five attempts.
Not playing its best but getting a win, Bloom knows what awaits.
“(Getting the opponent’s best effort), we know it, and we have to work on that,” Johnson said. “We’ve got a long week before our next game, and we’ll focus on that in practice.”