Bloom wins McDipper Tournament title

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Bloom wins McDipper Tournament title

By Dan Ruane
YourSeason.com

Bloom knew exactly what it had to do to win the championship game of the McDipper tournament. The Blazing Trojans took the air out of the ball and came away with a 52-45 victory over Crete-Monee to win the 39th Tournament at Rich South high school.It was Blooms first title at this tournament since the Blazing Trojans downed Crete-Monee in 1995.This is the most versatile team that I have ever coached, Bloom coach Jasper Williams said. We wanted to get Crete into a half-court game because we did not want to go ninety-four feet up and down the floor with them.The key to the tempo was Bloom point guard Donald Moore, who was named the tournaments most valuable player. Moore was controlling the ball while working the 35 second shot clock down to single digits in most cases before either shooting or creating for his teammates. Moore finished with 14 points.The plan worked well for the most part as Bloom (13-0) held the lead for the entire game and edged out to a 40-24 lead just past the midway point of the third quarter. Moore keyed a big run in the third quarter by scoring eight points and assisting on Lejavious Johnsons three pointer for an 11-2 run to start the third that all but buried Crete.They beat us three times last year including in the playoffs, Moore said. It felt good to beat them finally, especially in the Dipper championship game.Donald is the leader of our team, Williams said. We want the ball in his hands at the end of games. He is one of the best point guards in the city.Crete (10-3) whittled away at the lead to cut the score to 50-45 with just over a minute left to play. LaQuon Treadwell willed the Warriors back into the game with 10 second half points including a base-line jam that had the standing-room only crowd out of its seats. Treadwell finished with 14 points and seven rebounds.We all love being around each other. We are like brothers, Johnson said. Teams think that they just have to stop me and Donald but we are way more than that. Every guy on this team can step up and play.

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The Blackhawks were finally getting healthy and now may be missing a key player once again. That depends on how Niklas Hjalmarsson feels after suffering an upper-body injury against the Arizona Coyotes on Thursday night.

It was certainly the toughest part of the Blackhawks' victory, a 6-3 triumph that has the Blackhawks closing in on the Wild. We'll see what the Hjalmarsson update is over the weekend. Until then, let's look at the notables from this one.

What Worked: The offense. We'll give an honorable mention to the penalty kill, which snuffed out all of the Coyotes' chances including a double minor that overlapped the second and third periods. But the offense was just buzzing again. Here's another shocker: the top line is still working just fine. The trio got things started with Nick Schmaltz's goal just 37 seconds into the game (Jonathan Toews and Richard Panik assisted). And much like in their meeting with the Coyotes earlier this month, the Blackhawks needed just about every bit of that offense. While we're on this topic...

What Didn't Work: The first-period defense. The Blackhawks looked like they were in good shape up 3-1 but then they gave up two goals within a minute late in the period. Michal Rozsival had a rough start in his first game since Jan. 15, but overall, the Blackhawks' defense through that first period looked discombobulated. Obviously, it didn't help that the Blackhawks lost Hjalmarsson during the first, either.

[RELATED: Patrick Kane nets hat trick as Blackhawks cruise past Coyotes]

Star of the game: Patrick Kane. One game after Jonathan Toews recorded a hat trick Kane did the same, scoring his 21st, 22nd and 23rd goals of the season. On a night in which the Blackhawks dressed 11 forwards and seven defensemen, Kane got a little extra playing time. His first goal came on a first-period shift with Ryan Hartman and Tanner Kero, the second off a long pass from Brent Seabrook and the third with his usual line mates.

He Said It: "I didn't play much before I got hurt, then I missed four weeks with my injury. It wasn't easy but definitely the way the team's playing now, it made it easier for me. It felt like the first game of the season for me but glad we got the victory and glad I was back playing. I enjoyed it." — Michal Rozsival on returning to the Blackhawks' lineup. 

By the Numbers: 

6 – Number of times, in their last eight games, the Blackhawks have scored five or more goals.

342 – Assists for Jonathan Toews, who tied Dennis Hull for 12th all-time in franchise history in that category.

35 – Combined points for the Blackhawks' top liners Jonathan Toews, Nick Schmaltz and Richard Panik in their nine games together. The breakdown in those nine games: Toews has 16 points, Panik 10 and Schmaltz nine.

1997 – The last time the Blackhawks had hat tricks in back-to-back regular-season games. Alexei Zhamnov and Eric Daze had them on April 11 and April 13, 1997, respectively.