As LoyalTees Swept Its Way to Summer Hoops 3-Peat, Sharp-Shooting Blue Emerged as Top Gun, Playoff MVP
FROM A TO Z: Zahrion Blue of LoyalTees drives to the hoop during the playoffs in the Princeton Recreation Department Men’s Summer Basketball League. Former Princeton High and current Lincoln University hoops star Blue was named as the Foreal Wooten Playoff MVP after leading LoyalTees to a sweep of the Majeski Foundation in the league’s best-of-three championship series. Blue scored 21 points and had six rebounds and two assists in the title clincher last Wednesday at the Community Park courts as LoyalTees won 57-45 in game two to earn its third straight league title. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)
By Bill Alden
When Zahrion Blue joined the LoyalTees team in the Princeton Recreation Department Men’s Summer Basketball League a few years ago, he was one of the young guns for the battle-tested squad.
This summer, though, the former Princeton High and current Lincoln University hoops star Blue has emerged as the top gun for LoyalTees. The 6’4, 200-pound guard was the league’s leading scorer this summer, tallying 24.2 points a game, and was named as a first-team All-League performer and regular season MVP.
Last Wednesday evening before an overflow crowd at the Community Park courts, Blue helped trigger LoyalTees to a third straight league title as it defeated the Majeski Foundation 57-45 to earn a sweep of the league’s best-of-three championship series and the team’s third straight title.
“We just wanted to win, we wanted a three-peat,” said Blue, who scored 21 points and had six rebounds and two assists in the victory and was later named the Foreal Wooten Playoff MVP as LoyalTees went 10-1 this summer.
“We came out here and you can’t take them lightly. We got up a little lead and we wanted to keep pushing it and making it greater.”
With star forward Nick Davidson sidelined for game two due to a leg injury, Blue assumed more responsibility.
“I don’t even know Nick was hurt,” said Blue. “When they said we didn’t have Nick, I knew I had to do more on the rebounding and score more because he is a rebounding type of guy and a scoring type of guy.”
With Blue scoring 14 points in the first half, LoyalTees built a 31-25 lead at intermission.
“I was feeling it, I was telling my team that I was feeling it,” said Blue.
“Every single game, my team expects me to go out and just be me. They look for me even though I am the younger guy in the group.”
LoyalTees standout guard and manager Davon Black credited Blue with the meeting those expectations.
“Z has grown each year; we told him this year, this is your team, we have done this,” said Black of Blue, who scored more than 1,000 points in his PHS career and has tallied 743 points in two-plus seasons for Lincoln, averaging 12.4 points, 6.5 rebounds and 2.9 assists a game.
“I have led the league in scoring, Terrance [Bailey] led the league in scoring. We have guys who have done it so we are going to follow your lead. Whatever you do, we are going to follow.”
For Blue, getting it done as the playoff MVP was a source of pride.
“That means a lot; I just come out here and try to score, try to rebound, try to pass, and I try to play defense,” said Blue. “I just try to do everything, like a LeBron [James]-type of guy.”
Looking ahead to next summer, Blue and LoyalTees are primed to try for another title.
“We just come out here every day trying to compete,” said Blue.
“We have got a good chemistry, a good group of guys, and we are going to stick together. We are looking for four next year.”