PONTIAC -- For about six minutes, Warren optimized its offense and revealed its strengths in every way imaginable.
Juwan Perry attacked the rim and used his speed to hit pull up jumpers and 3-pointers. Point guard Jayson Dorsey orchestrated the break with flair and style. Junior guard Branden Ellis recorded back-to-back dunks.
Six different players scored as the Blue Devils registered more points in those six minutes than the entirety of the first half. That was the problem. Warren showed what it was capable of. The disadvantage it was playing against proved too great to fully overcome.
Warren stormed back from an 18-point deficit to pull within six points in the second half only to see unbeaten Bloomington make three decisive 3-pointers as Warren fell 80-69 in first round play of the Pontiac Holiday Tournament Wednesday.
Perry led four double-figure scorers with 20 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals for the Blue Devils (3-6).
Warren moves to the consolation bracket against Lockport Thursday on afternoon.
Bloomington guard Dazon Farris scored a game-high 25 points in leading four double-figure scorers for the Purple Raiders (9-0). Farris was spectacular in scoring 18 fourth-quarter points after Warren pulled within 52-46 to end the third quarter.
Ellis delivered a beautiful three-quarter length pass to guar Barak Diehl (11 points) for a layup at the third-quarter buzzer. The play punctuated a superb quarter that saw Warren run out a 22-9 run in the first six minutes that cut into the Purple Raiders' 38-20 halftime lead.
Playing his first game in three weeks after he suffered a broken finger, Ellis was a catalyst. He scored 8 points in the third quarter.
"I had been practicing the last week, but this was a new experience," Ellis said. "I was not used to the speed and tempo of the game in the first half and my shot was not falling. At halftime, in the locker room, I told myself just to relax."
Perry scored seven in the quarter. His 3-pointer started the onslaught. Warren had been eager to fuse together its various pieces. This quarter was the blueprint.
"There are no moral victories," Perry said. "We still took a loss. It's great to see our guys rise and come back. We just ramped up our defense and our offense (followed) and we started knocking down shots and we got into the flow and the momentum was on our side."
Warren converted 57 percent (21-of-37) from the field in the second half.
"Our guys play hard," Warren coach Jon Jasnoch said. "We played hard in the first half, but we missed a lot of shots. We got that out of our system and got a sense of the court and the ball started going in and that leads to more shots going down.
"We need to carry the (the second half) play forward. When we play that way we are really good. We just have to play that way all the time and not just one quarter."
Bloomington hit two 3-pointers in scoring the opening eight points of the quarter and using a 18-7 run to expand the margin to 17 (70-53). Warren responded with a 13-2 burst.
Bloomington recorded 15 offensive rebounds.
"That's the most we have given up this year," Jasnoch said.
The extra possessions deprived the Blue Devils of the upset. The inspired third quarter is hopefully signs of a more optimistic future.
"The thing I will take away the most from this game is the potential we have," Perry said. "We want to do that way every day and show that is the way Warren plays."