Blake makes statement

Prologue
To a building that might be my least favorite in the metro as I visit Blake to see their Tri-Metro showdown with DeLaSalle.  If you read my weekly Preps column (and if not, shame on you) you'll know there were some good reasons to think an upset could happen.  Only candy at the concession stand but I know this from experience so I manage to wolf down some Arby's before my arrival.  Blake has repainted the floor and updated to some bright lighting so that helps a little but not much.  When I arrive I find Al Harris searching for the entry (which is very confusing) and thanks to all my winter gear I don't recognize him until we're inside.  HA!  So I think that adds up to today's music.

Song of the Day
Jay-Z - 99 Problems.

Game Time
If you arrived late for this one, you didn't miss much.  Blake goes 3-2 zone right from the opening tip and that takes the air out of everything.  Blake's 1st field goal comes at 14:20 for a 4-0 lead.  DLS goes the first 6:10 without a bucket before a James Lawson bucket in the lane.  Blake goes almost 6 minutes before their next field goal.  Timeout DeLaSalle at the 8:45 mark.  6-4 Blake lead and I think you could paint the floor again and watch it dry before these teams get to 60 points.  Reid Travis with his 3rd straight bucket on a short baseline pullup.  10-8 DLS at the 5:15 mark.  Blake would get the next 6 points ending with a Kebu Johnson bucket.  But then he would go to the bench with 2 fouls for the last 2:34.  Luke Scott heats up for DLS as he's finding openings on the wings against the zone.  His pair of triples in the last 3 minutes sends the game to halftime tied at 20.

Major gap in the Blake zone to start the 2nd half as they're running at Tyler Moore which leaves Scott open on the next pass.  That leads to another pair of Scott bombs.  26-22 Islanders with 16:05 left.  Then Paul Blake heats up for Blake (how fitting).  A jumper, a 3 off the world's most famous BLOB (inbounder comes back to corner for 3) and another 3 after a big Bears block on defense.  DLS turns it over for a free throw, then another block and Kebu Johnson turns that into a bucket (misses and 1 free throw). Timeout Islanders with 9:51 left.  34-28 Blake with the lead.  Then a great tweak by Blake coach Nick Rathmann in the timeout.  He flops spots to run his favorite set (more later on that) for Paul Blake and he buries the 3.  37-28 Bears with 9:20 left, wow.  Jarvis Johnson for 3 to keep DLS hanging around.  Blake timeout with 7:24 left up 6 and they show 1 possession of THE WORLD'S WORST OFFENSE (a Bears favorite but not tonight).  They turned it over on that possession, boo hoo.  But John Veil grabs a loose rebounds and takes it the distance for 2 and a Kebu Johnson free throw after another Islander turnover.  40-31 Bears with 4:37 left.

Jarvis Johnson buries another 3 but Veil with a nice cut and converts a floater to counter it.  Travis was quiet all half but his 3 point play with 3:47 left cuts the lead to 42-37.  Veil with 2 free throws with 1:45 left and the Blake students pull out the "I Believe" chant.  One of the few times you'll actually see it used properly.  Down 6 with a minute left, DLS would force a Kebu Johnson turnover but he would get a block on the other end.  Veil would make 3 of 4 FTs and that would be enough.  Blake pulls the upset over #5AAA DeLaSalle 50-44.

Post Game
For DeLaSalle, just no answers vs the 3-2 zone.  They did have some good looks that didn't fall but this young squad will learn to show more patience.  Reid Travis was effective inside in the first half, then didn't see the ball inside in the 2nd half.  Reid Travis and Luke Scott each with 15 points.  4 3s for Scott and 2 of his 3 free throws were when he was fouled on a 3.  Travis with 4 rebounds on my sheet.  Providence Academy comes to the island on Fri before the Islanders take on Rashad Vaughn and Cooper in the Tipoff Classic.  Cooper coach Dave Johnson was in the building tonight so expect some zone from the Hawks in that one.

For Blake, John Veil leads the way with 17 points, 11 of 12 from the charity stripe.  He did well not turning it over against the DLS pressure.  Paul Blake came up huge with 12 of his 16 in the 2nd half.  Kebu Johnson held to 7 points with 6 rebounds.  Credit the DLS defense.  Blake ran lots of ball screens (single or double) with Veil and Johnson and really didn't get much out of it against a hard showing defense.  Blake continues play with a rivalry game at Breck on Friday.  Tough followup game for the Bears but the rest of the month's schedule is favorable before a tough first half of January (though that is mostly at home).  They won't see DeLaSalle again until February 2nd.
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Play of the Day
Blake ran this a ton, including for the huge Paul Blake 3 for the 9 point lead mid-second half.  We'll start in a horns set.  Kebu Johnson in right corner. Normally Veil will dribble handoff to Johnson who will then come off a high double ball screen set by the 2 posts.  Those posts will then pin down for Veil for a throwback 3.  The screeners continue to the block where the other corner (Blake usually) can come across the baseline off the double for another look.  For Paul Blake's big 3, they ran the handoff and throw back to him instead of Veil.  Great move to go to the hot guy, something most high school coaches don't do.

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