BERNE – The net, Marchs preferred fashion accessory, hung from his neck like something out of a Fifth Avenue store window. So you could be forgiven for thinking it was James Blackmon Jr.s, and James Blackmon Jr.s alone.
Here was the secret, though, Saturday night, as Bishop Luers celebrated another Class 2A sectional championship: Blackmon had the net, but a lot of other fingerprints were all over it.
They belonged to senior Randon Jackson, who scored 14 of his 18 points in the second half as Luers (15-6) drew away late from a gritty Bluffton team, 72-55 in the South Adams Sectional final. To sophomore C.J. McCarter, who muscled inside for nine of his 13 in the first half. To Blackmon Jr.s freshman brother, Vijay, who got 13 of his 18 in the second half as well.
Put them together with Blackmon Jr.s 17 points – including one thunderous dunk on an end-to-end rampage with a loose ball – and it was another night to pose for pictures and hold up a trophy for the Knights. And everyone knew why.
Its been a motto for us for the last five or six games, Luers coach James Blackmon Sr. said. Weve been getting four or five guys reaching double figures, and that makes us a tough team.
Most teams are concentrating on James, but when youve got two or three other guys stepping up and knocking down perimeter shots, it becomes pretty hard to keep us out of the lane as far as driving to the bucket.
And in the end, it made them impossible to beat. The Tigers (15-8) hung around for the better part of three quarters, mostly by dropping six threes, but came up dry in the fourth quarter, going 4:38 without a field goal and scoring just five points across the last seven minutes.
Chandler Prible and Seth Thompson led the Tigers with 17 points apiece. But Thompson, who kept the Tigers in with four threes and 16 points through three quarters, missed all six of his shots in the fourth.
We tried to stay on them until the end, Jackson said, We didnt want to let up because theyre a real good basketball club, so we wanted to stay on them the whole time.
They came close enough. And it was a group effort.
Yeah, thats kind of been a key, because before it was just me trying to score a lot, Blackmon Jr. said. But now since we got a couple new additions, we all can score and we came together.
Its a great thing, because when theyre getting off you always know youre gonna have a great night. And thats just gonna get you going even more.