The 19 points that the Blair boys basketball team scored in the first quarter Tuesday night gave the Bears all the confidence they needed.
Combined with a school-record 12 3-pointers, it allowed the team to hold off Class B No. 3 Norris 67-61.
“It was a great game, great atmosphere and fast-paced,” new Blair coach Scott Flynn said. “It was a lot of fun to be a part of it.”
Fun wasn't a word often used last year during a 3-18 campaign. But the return of senior guard Dylan Rogers, who was out last year with a football injury, has given the Bears the balanced outside scoring that they needed.
Rogers made three of his five 3-pointers in the fourth quarter and guard T.J. Loudner hit three. Rogers' scoring outburst helped Blair overcome the 20-point performance by the Titans' Dylan Bohlke, whom Flynn called a very special player.
Norris was focusing on 6-foot-1 sophomore Vance Janssen, who finished with 24 points, leaving Rogers and Loudner open.
Rogers, Loudner and Janssen are Blair's outside threats. Other starters are senior forward Trevor Wulf and senior center Mitch Misfeldt.
Flynn said Wulf, Rogers, Misfeldt and Tanner Dunn, who missed Tuesday's game because of an illness, are a special group of seniors. They have great chemistry with the younger players Blair is counting on to be successful. Sophomore Logan Hovanec, junior Trevor Hagedorn and freshman Alex Wing are players off the bench.
The victory Tuesday was Blair's first. But the Bears were competitive against Waverly and Ralston.
“We've played three rated opponents and hung with them to this point,” Flynn said. “We have to keep plugging away and keep finding ways to get over that hump and get a little confidence.”
Seeing Blair win means everything to Flynn, who was a volunteer coach for 11 years before getting the head coaching position this season. He also was Blair's girls coach for five years.
“We have a chance to be a really special team,” he said.
Norris (2-1)........................18 9 12 22—61
At Blair (1-2)..................................19 16 12 22—67
N: Dylan Bohlke 20, Jake Peterson 2, Jackson Reetz 14, AJ Flodman 7, Logan Dorn 11, James Kroger 6, Bryce Peterson 1.
B: Vance Janssen 24, Trevor Wulf 4, Dylan Rogers 17, Logan Hovanec 4, Trevor Hagedorn 3, Alex Wing 3, T.J. Loudner 11, Mitch Misfeldt 1.
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