Without Blake

Without+Blake

Justin Morris, Review Staff

Feature Photo By: Sebastian Wiegand- Elijah Blake, then junior, watches a free throw during a game. Blake averaged 10 points per game during the 2015-16 basketball season. 

The Rangeview boys basketball team will begin their 2016 season with a major setback: senior captain Elijah Blake has a torn ACL in his left knee. Blake, a Denver University commit who averaged 10 points per game last season, along with just over three assists and 2.3 steals as a starter, was injured in a game this past fall.

Rangeview’s 2015 squad, led by Blake and seniors Jalen Guidry, Tyrei Randall, and Elijah Reed, finished the season 26-1. After an undefeated regular season, they were beaten in the Final Four by Eaglecrest, guided by Colorado Gatorade Player of the Year and Pepperdine commit Colbey Ross.

Blake would’ve been looked to for much of the scoring load this year, and Rangeview will have to compensate heavily for the loss. Although it is doubtful he’ll play this year, his impact on the team will still be felt.

“The team still has the same plan, work hard every day and get better,” Blake said about the the Raider’s outlook. “I want to be a leader and set an example of what it takes to be a Division 1 athlete; it’s just gonna be advice from a different perspective.”

Varsity Head coach Shawn Palmer said about the upcoming season, “what we do as a team won’t change, what I do with Elijah will though.”

Elijah Blake signed his letter of intent with the University of Denver last Wednesday. He will join the Pioneers basketball team next season.  (Jorion Marshall)
Elijah Blake signed his letter of intent with the University of Denver last Wednesday. He will join the Pioneers basketball team next season. (Jorion Marshall)

Palmer has plans to aid Blake with the transition from high school to college, and expand his understanding of the game while seeing it from a different viewpoint.

“I’ll be helping with rehab, working with DU, and helping him see the game from a coach’s point of view. He’ll just be another coach, leading and mentoring,” Palmer stated.

An athletic guard with the ability to finish in the lane, Blake’s loss at the guard spot will leave a gaping hole at the position. This will likely be taken over by senior Matthew Johnson, a returning varsity player who spreads the floor well with his shooting.

“I need to be more vocal this year, and more of a threat on offense,” Johnson said. “The team is young with a lot of underclassmen, and I need to lead them on the court and off the court, set an example in the classroom with my grades and attendance.”

Look for Johnson to boost his scoring numbers this season, and expect offense from senior captain Donyvan Jackson as well. Rangeview opens the season with a tournament game against Palmer High School on December 1st.

For more on Rangeview basketball, visit http://www.maxpreps.com/high-schools/rangeview-raiders-(aurora,co)/basketball/home.htm