A bad week got worse for Bishop Luers on Friday night.
After losing four players in the days leading up to the showdown with Class 4A No. 9 Northrop, the Knights were thoroughly dominated by the Bruins by a final of 95-59.
It was the biggest loss in terms of margin of victory in the nine years of the James Blackmon Sr. era and the largest for the Knights since a 72-33 defeat to Snider on Jan. 13, 2004.
Senior Matt Harris, a double-figure scorer for Bishop Luers, is battling back problems and may miss a couple weeks.
But the longer-lasting blow for the eight-ranked team in Class 2A came when a trio of players – Charles Gaston, Kendrick Mullen and Mike Rogers – elected to quit the team.
“A couple guys that came out from football decided their hearts weren't in it,” Blackmon Sr. said about the three players. “They decided basketball wasn't on their agenda.”
The remaining players – including dynamic junior James Blackmon Jr. and younger brother Vijay – played hard on Friday, but were swept away by an impressive Northrop defense and a transition game that continuously took advantage of the Knights' inability to get back on defense.
Blackmon Jr. went for 30 points but on just 8-of-23 shooting as he dealt with in-your-face defense all night. Brenton Scott had the primary responsibility of limiting the junior, but as the game went on and Scott battled foul trouble, other players stepped up.
“Our goal was to hold them under 60 (points),” Northrop coach Barak Coolman said. “It was primarily Brenton (on Blackmon Jr.) all night be knew he couldn't do it all and knew he would get in foul trouble and he did. But he did a great job in setting the tone.”
Meanwhile, Brenton and brother Bryson were dominant on the offensive end. The two combined for 59 points while shooting 73 percent from the field. Bryson notched a game-high 35 points while shooting 14-of-17 from the field.
“Our plan was to come out here and play hard and play Northrop basketball,” Bryson said. “Fortunately, I had a good game.”
Northrop's role players also stepped up big, with the Bruins making the extra pass several times to beat Bishop Luers' zone defense. Antonio Richmond chipped in 12 points for Northrop, which had 10 players score on the night.
“We cannot be successful without our core guys playing that way,” Coolman said.
The Knights (4-4, 2-2 SAC) struggled with turnovers, finishing with 19 on the night with many leading to easy baskets in transition. But it was understandable with Bishop Luers starting a pair of juniors, a sophomore and two freshmen.
“If you let those guys get back in transition, they are really strong,” Blackmon Sr. said. “We didn't get back (on defense).”
With North Side beating Concordia Lutheran on Friday, Northrop (12-2, 3-1) is now in a tie for first in the SAC with the Cadets and the teams matching up Feb. 1 at Northrop.
NORTHROP 95, BISHOP LUERS 59
Bishop Luers 9 20 14 16 - 59
Northrop 23 20 27 25 - 95
Bishop Luers: Blackmon Jr. 30, Leshore 11, Vijay Blackmon 5, Johson 5, Randolph 2, Rybicki 1, McCarter 5.
Northrop: Brenton Scott 24, Womack 4, Thomas 2, Moody 2, Richmond 12, Claypool 4, Griggs 5, Bryson Scott 35, Cowherd 4, Starks 3.