Soldotna's Brian Blossom passes the ball during a practice last week.
Photo by M. Scott Moon
Build it and they will come.
In the case of Soldotna senior Brian Blossom, “it” has been the two basketball courts his father, Doug, has constructed, while “they” has been numerous basketball awards.
When Brian was in seventh grade and his family was living near Clam Gulch, his father built a basketball court at his house.
“He would get out on that court every day he could,” Blossom’s mother, Mary, said. “He’d work on his shooting unless it was really windy and rainy. Then, he’d work on ballhandling.”
When the Blossoms moved to the Soldotna area two years ago, one of the first things Doug did was build a 50-by-50-foot court at the new house.
“It’s pretty popular,” Mary said. “We’ll just have kids stop by and grab the boys, if they aren’t out there already.”
All of the time on those homemade courts has paid off for Brian. Last year when he was playing at Skyview, he earned all-Northern Lights Conference honors and was the team’s most valuable player. He also has been named to five all-tournament teams in his career.
In many ways, Blossom’s basketball career has been influenced by fishing. He is a fourth-generation commercial fisherman. He started working on his family’s site at the age of 5.
“I’ve always played basketball because I’ve always fished in the summertime,” Blossom said. “That didn’t leave me time to get involved in sports in the summertime.”
Blossom said fishing also helped him with his basketball career because it instilled work ethic.
“Fishing is physical work,” Blossom said. “When I’m hurting a little bit, it’s helped me play through it. Fishing has given me mental toughness.”
The work ethic has also helped him during the offseason.
“He’s always been willing to put the time in,” Doug said. “I think kids are kids. Without a little bit of guidance, they don’t spend the time on the court they need to learn how to play.”
Doug said Brian has played in a spring league in Anchorage ever since junior high and also has played in a fall league the last three years. Both those leagues last five or six weeks.
Blossom, with his father as the coach, started on the junior varsity team his freshman year at Skyview and even saw some varsity action at the end of the year.
As a sophomore, he started for Skyview’s varsity and was coached by his uncle, Dave Blossom.
“One of the things he doesn’t get credit for is his defense,” Dave said. “That’s one of the reasons he was moved up to starting varsity as a sophomore.
“In just about every game we played, we put him on one of the other team’s best players. Consequently, in every game he held them under or well under their scoring average.”
Dave said Brian was always the first player on the court and the last to leave at practice. Blossom used that time to work on the accuracy and quickness of his shot from everywhere on the floor.
“The other thing Brian does real well is shoot his free throws,” Dave said. “He does well when he has the opportunity to drive to the basket and get fouls.
“Last year, he was averaging seven or eight points a game on free throws.”
Blossom transferred to Soldotna this season and earned a starting spot for the Stars and coach Joe Trujillo. Trujillo said Blossom has been the team’s leading scorer at 11.5 points per game.
“He’s very keen and perceptive,” Trujillo said. “It’s great having a kid like him on the floor.
“He’s like an extension of the coaching staff on the floor.”
Blossom said his team has set its sights on earning a trip to the state tournament.
“We’re just as good as anybody else right now,” he said. “What it’s going to come down to is winning close games at the end.”
Blossom said he would like to play college basketball next season, most likely at the Division III level.
At the same time, Blossom would like to pursue an education in the medical field. Blossom also has used his work ethic to excel in the classroom, where he has a 3.83 grade point average and takes difficult classes like anatomy and calculus.
Blossom also is an avid hunter, just like his father and his grandfather, Douglas Blossom. Blossom shot his first moose when he was 10.
“His dad took him out several weekends last fall,” Mary said. “He came home on the third weekend and said he could stay out there the whole month. The whole experience, the stars in the sky, really impressed him. He had a ball.”
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