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Pieces coming together

– Bishop Luers boys basketball coach James Blackmon Sr. admits he has a different team these days.

The new-look Knights won their fifth straight game Friday with a 77-63 home decision over Warsaw.

“Our team has been through adversity since the beginning of the year with not having the football players at the beginning of the year, then four or five games into the year, having (three) football players quit the team,” Blackmon said.

“And we still have a young team out there.”

The biggest addition for Luers (12-6) has been senior transfer Randon Jackson, who gives the Knights another piece of the puzzle in his second game with the team since winning an almost season-long appeal after coming over from Marion.

“We have been fortunate enough to get Randon Jackson these last two games,” Blackmon said. “I can’t understand that process, but that’s not my call. It should never been in that situation, and he suffered. But we are happy now because he’s on the court now. We are a different team. When you have a guy like him, and the team before he come on was playing well. We started to jell even before Randon, and we are winning.”

The 6-foot-4 Jackson had 20 points for the Knights (12-6), including three high-flying alley-oop dunks. He said the last time he suited up for a high school game was the regular-season finale last February for the Giants against Snider.

“It was hard (sitting out), but I went to practice every day and continued to get better,” Jackson said. “It was actually fuel to the fire and made me hungrier, and I wanted to go get it. They tried to hold me back, for what reason I don’t know. But now I am here, playing and buying into what the coaches are telling us.”

James Blackmon Jr. scored 34 points for Luers, while Vijay Blackmon added 11 points.

Luers took command in the second quarter, outscoring Warsaw 18-3.

“Warsaw is a very disciplined team, and we allowed them to dictate the tempo in the first quarter,” Blackmon Sr. said of the Tigers’ 18-15 first-quarter advantage. “(In the second), our guys up-tempoed the game, and we got some early shots off our defense.”

Jared Bloom led the Tigers (10-9) with 23 points, while John Swanson added 11. Warsaw has now lost five of six games.

“Obviously Luers is very good, bringing a lot of offensive firepower,” Warsaw coach Doug Ogle said.

“Randon Jackson adds a different dimension to their team now, which is a real problem for any opponent. I was extremely disappointed in our competitive spirit and poise in the second quarter.

“We had some injuries and illness, so we aren’t full strength. But those guys suited up, and when you suit up, it’s on. I would like to think our guys are made of more than what they showed in that second quarter.

“Hopefully that kind of effort is not going to define us.”

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