ELKHART — Warsaw looked as curiously fresh as a flower in bloom — especially Jared Bloom.
The senior guard proved virtually unstoppable to the Northridge defense, scoring 33 points as the Tigers captured the Class 4A Elkhart Sectional boys basketball title with a 64-57 victory over the Raiders in the Saturday, March 2, final at North Side Gym.
Warsaw had narrowly escaped Central 45-44 in double overtime on Tuesday, then narrowly escaped heavily favored Concord 43-41 in triple OT on Friday, yet the Tigers appeared increasingly crisp as Saturday’s championship proceeded into the second half.
“You know, you can’t survive both those first two games and then not win the sectional,” Bloom reasoned. “I think (the freshness) comes from within. We just wanted it so bad. And for me, it’s something I’ve dreamt about my whole high school career. Every day I was in the gym working hard, I was thinking of a sectional championship. That’s all I cared about.”
“We didn’t have an answer for Jared Bloom,” Northridge coach Ronnie Thomas said of the 6-footer who went 9-of-12 from the field with three 3-pointers and 12-of-14 at the line. “Thirty-three points. And we couldn’t trap him, because he found the open man.”
The Tigers (13-10) advanced to a Michigan City Regional semifinal next Saturday against South Bend Adams (21-2).
Northridge (10-12), which had eliminated a 14-win Goshen club 62-46 in Friday’s semifinals for its sixth victory in eight games, was paced by junior Nate Ritchie with 21 points and six rebounds. Senior Joey Ganyard added 13 points and sophomore Pete Smith 11.