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Jaden Clark and Bloom beat Marist in sectional


Usually Bloom’s jaden clark He is tasked with defending the opponent’s best offensive player.

This is a job he takes seriously.

“I watch videos of our competitors on my computer,” Clark said. “I am careful who I match with. I look to see who the shooters are. I keep all of that in mind.”

listening to the coach Dante Maddox As he speaks, the senior guard/forward plays one-on-one defense.

On Wednesday night, with help from Clark, third-seeded Bloom beat second-seeded Marist 56-45 in the Class 4A Rich Township Regional semifinal at Richton Park.

Elijah Lovemore continued its leadership with 18 points Payton Edwards 12 added and Loving Pryor There were 11 points for the Blazing Trojans (19-9), who will play against Homewood-Flossmoor (29-4) in the regional championship game Friday at 7 p.m.

T.J. Tate And Darshan Thomas Marist (29-5), whose 13-game winning streak ended, scored 12 points each.

Clark’s job was to keep Thomas from doing too much damage, especially when it came to the Marist standout’s ability to score off offensive rebounds.

“Jaden Clark… if you watch him in the playoffs, you can see he’s turning into a little bit of a star,” Maddox said. “Look at his play in every aspect.

“You may not see it, but he scores at all three levels. He locks down the best player on the other team and does it consistently. It peaks at the right time.”

Bloom’s Jaden Clark poses after his team beat Marist in the Class 4A Rich Township Regional semifinals Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2024, at Richton Park. (Jeff Vorva/Daily Southtown)

Maddox said the 6-foot-11 Clark has been playing very well lately and that Wednesday’s performance was his worst in the past month. And this wasn’t a criticism.

Lovemore also likes what he sees in Clark.

“He’s very good defensively because he’s long and athletic,” Lovemore said. “He’s just an athlete, dude. One of us usually guards the best player; Nine out of 10 players.

“Players don’t see big players like him defending themselves, so it’s very frustrating for them.”

The Flaming Trojans make a habit of frustrating the RedHawks.

Last season, Bloom eliminated Marist in the regional final with a 66-54 victory. Leirre CollierTransfer from Marist Michael Garner and Clark combined for 31 points. Collier and Garner have graduated, but now new faces are hindering the RedHawks.

Bloom, who lost 49-39 to regional final opponent HF in the Chicago Heights Classic championship game on November 24, also encountered some problems in the play-offs.

The last time Bloom won the regional championship was 2012; The Blazing Trojans finished fourth at state in Class 4A. jasper williamswho currently serves as an assistant coach with the Blazing Trojans, was then the head coach.

After opening this season with an 8-3 record, Bloom has gone through a rough patch both on and off the court as they navigate a challenging schedule featuring 14 seeded teams.

Bloom coach Dante Maddox (left) and assistant Jasper Williams give instructions during a timeout in the third quarter against Marist in the Class 4A Rich Township Regional semifinal on Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2024, at Richton Park. (Jeff Vorva/Daily Southtown)

“We’ve had sick and wounded men, and no one knows the troubles we’ve been through,” Maddox said. “We had six guys in practice until the playoffs.”

“We’ve played a lot of different teams, a lot of good teams, and what we’re seeing now, we’ve seen before,” Lovemore said. “We have had some challenges but we make sure we play hard and whatever the outcome, we can say we gave it our all.”

Meanwhile, Clark is getting some interest from middle schools. A deeper run into the playoffs could strengthen his stock with recruiters.

He stated that he was only 5-10 years old in the eighth grade, and that he grew taller in high school.

He said he has been playing basketball since he was 3 years old. His father, Lamar, played in the State of Alabama and abroad. Jaden inherited his father’s love for the game.

“I love everything about basketball and always have since I was a kid,” Clark said. “It’s something I’ve loved doing for a long time.”

Jeff Vorva is a freelance reporter for the Daily Southtown.


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