Former PHS Star Blue Erupting in Summer Hoops As Loyaltees Cruises to Win in Opener of Title Series
BLUE THUNDER: Loyaltees star Zahrion Blue flies to the hoop earlier this season in the Princeton Recreation Department Men’s Summer Basketball League. Last Monday, former Princeton High star Blue poured in a game-high 29 points as top-seeded and defending champion Loyaltees defeated second-seeded NJ Spiritwear 88-45 in game one of the best-of-three championship series. Game two is slated for Wednesday evening at the Community Park courts with game three, if necessary, to take place on August 2. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)
Zahrion Blue is saving his best for last as he stars for the Loyaltees squad in the Princeton Recreation Department Men’s Summer Basketball League.
Former Princeton High star and current Lincoln University standout Blue poured in 35 points as top-seeded and defending champion Loyaltees defeated second-seeded defeated eighth-seeded Team NRGY 83-62 in a playoff quarterfinal contest last Wednesday.
Two days later, Blue tallied 19 points to help Loyaltees overcome a 40-30 second half deficit against fifth-seeded Sakana and pull out a 52-50 win in the semis.
Last Monday in game one of the best-of-three championship series against second-seeded NJ Spiritwear, a rematch of the 2018 title matchup, Blue came out firing at the Community Park courts.
Hitting several three-pointers and swooping inside for a some thunderous dunks, Blue tallied 20 points as Loyaltees jumped out to a 52-18 halftime lead over an undermanned Spiritwear team, which was missing key players, Tyler Jones and Joe Moore, due to injury.
Loyaltees never looked back on the way to an 88-45 triumph. Blue ended the evening with a game-high 29 points.
In reflecting on the rout which saw Vince Anfield contribute 20 points in the win, Blue acknowledged that Loyaltees would have preferred to be facing a full-strength Spiritwear team.
“It is a rivalry,” said Blue. “It was pretty disappointing. I was coming out here looking for a competitive game but I could see it wasn’t going to happen.”
Blue has been looking to raise his game for the postseason.
“I just come here to play and have fun,” said Blue. “You have fun when you score. I am in playoff mode, that’s all.”
For Blue, playing in the summer league is good prep for his sophomore season for the Lincoln University men’s hoops team, a Division II program which plays in the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA).
“I am getting ready to go back to school,” said the 6’3, 186-pound guard Blue, who averaged 9.4 points and 6.4 rebounds a game with seven double-doubles last winter in his freshman campaign for the Lions, making the CIAA All-Rookie Team. “It is just playing against stronger and older people.”
In reflecting on the success of Loyaltees, which improved to 10-1 with the win over Spiritwear, Blue likes the team’s mix of talent and camaraderie.
“We just have a lot of pieces, everyone is a part of puzzle,” said Blue. “We have good chemistry. Everybody is unselfish.”
Heading into game two of the championship series on Wednesday evening with a chance to clinch a title repeat, Blue and his teammates will be focused on producing one last good performance this summer.
“We are hoping for a more competitive game but with our team, we just play,” said Blue. “For however long this team is together, we want to win championships.”