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St. Viator gives Bloom all it can handle.

Byline: Greg Swiderski Daily Herald Correspondent

Despite a 65-60 loss Saturday afternoon to Bloom Township at Glenbard East's When Sides Collide shootout, St. Viator's boys basketball team proved that it can play with the top teams in the state.

"These were March minutes in January," said St. Viator coach Quin Hayes. "Our players played an excellent game. We had our shots but some of our outside shots didn't go in."

The Lions (17-5) shot 49 percent on 21 of 49 while the Blazing Trojans connected on 24 of 46 for 52 percent.

St. Viator was not intimidated by Bloom's superior height. In fact the Lions had a 30-23 lead with 13 seconds left in the first half following two Jeremiah Hernandez free throws, and they held a 15-13 rebounding edge.

One of the game changers was when Bloom's Donovan Newby (11 points) sank a 3-pointer from the left wing as the first half expired.

"Newby is one of our best shooters and that basket stopped their momentum," said Bloom coach Dante Maddox.

Connor Kochera led the Lions with 17 of his 25 points in the first half and Hernandez scored 9 of his 23 points before halftime."

"Jerry's such a good passer," said Kochera. "I was able to get open and he was able to find me."

"We were very aware of Hernandez," said Maddox, "but Kochera was really hurting us. We had to make some changes at halftime. We put Newby on him because he's our best defender and we wanted to push (Kochera) out some."

Eramis Burgess (12 points) put Bloom (19-2), ranked No. 3 in the latest Associated Press Class 4A statewide poll, ahead for good with a basket at the 1:41 mark of the third quarter for a 42-41 lead. Following a Dante Maddox Jr. basket Burgess came through again and The Blazing Trojan had a 46-41 lead going into the fourth quarter.

Bloom led 59-49 with 2:35 left on another basket by Burgess.

Hernandez hit for two 3-pointers and a 2-point basket off a turnover. Michael Campagna popped in a 3-pointer and the Lions, ranked No. 9 in Class 3A, narrowed the gap with 1:05 left.

The Blazing Trojans threw the ball out of bounds with 43 seconds left, giving St. Viator a chance to tie.

Hernandez became trapped in the right corner and in his haste to find an open man, Maddox stole the ball and was fouled with eight seconds left. His two free throws made the score 65-60.

A big positive for the Lions came with Campagna's play. He scored 12 points and played a strong floor game.

"I can't say enough about Campagna," said Hayes. "He was thrown into the point guard position when Trey (Calvin) went down with the broken hand. He's just done a fantastic job for us and he's a lockdown defender."

Campagna's confidence has risen as result of his playing time.

"Trey has helped me so much in practice and in games," said Campagna. "We're getting the experience we need to play in tough games. I was timid at first but now my confidence is building. I made mistakes early on but now they are fewer and far between."

We fought the whole game," said Kochera. "We never gave up, even when we were down 10. We're going to see games like this in March and this gets us prepared."

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Title Annotation:Sports
Author:Swiderski, By Greg
Publication:Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)
Date:Jan 27, 2019
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