football

Spotlight: Blake Bryan

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Despite playing for one of the smallest schools in the area, Villa Madonna point guard Blake Bryan is starting to turn some heads.
The 5-foot-8 speedster is leading the area in scoring averaging 37 points per game, despite being double or triple teamed most games.
"It's frustrating sometimes," said Bryan. "Last year I had the division player of the year in Stephen Love to help take some of the focus off of me."
Coach Rob Starkey says that there has been some transition for Bryan and the team after losing three-year varsity starters in Love and Brian Hamilton.
"We've had to open it up more to allow Blake to drive and get to the rim," said Starkey. "Where as last year there was a lot more screening and cutting through the lane with Blake looking to get others involved."
Bryan was the point guard on that team, which made it to the regional tournament. The Blue Lightning almost pulled off one of the biggest upsets in recent Ninth Region history in overtime against heavily favored St. Henry in the first round. Bryan scored 14 points in that game.
Bryan says that he's glad to lead the area in scoring, but he's quick to point to the fact that he leads Northern Kentucky in assists as well. At 4.25 assists per game, Bryan's teammates benefit from his vision and unselfishness when he's not scoring.
"All the shots I take are shots for the team," said Bryan. "That's what I'm being asked to do. I am always looking to get shots for the other guys too."
Those aren't the only statistical categories Bryan's name appears among the leaders in. He is also among the top ten in Northern Kentucky in defensive rebounds, steals, and blocks.
"Blake does so many things well on the court," said Starkey. "Sometimes it's a challenge as a coach to push him in practice and make him a better player."
Bryan was home-schooled from seventh grade through his freshman year of high school, before enrolling at Villa. Bryan says having his older brother attend Villa, and their high academic standards is what attracted him to the school.
Bryan has only played one and a half seasons of basketball at Villa, but already managed to make his mark on school history. Last Saturday against St. Bernard (OH) he entered the 1,000 point club. He followed that up two nights later with another record setting performance, as the junior scored 48 points against Bellevue. Those 48 points were good enough for the most in a single-game in school history.
Bryan says that he has been contacted by a few colleges, but he tries not to worry about the recruiting during the season too much.
"I let my coaches handle that, and I try to just stay focused on our season," said Bryan. "I still want to reach the 2,000 point club and lead the area in scoring and assists first."
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