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Soldotna's Blossom takes advantage of opportunity with UAA

Jeremy Peters
Sam Wasson/UAA Athletics

Boomer Blossom is glad to be home.

The 6-foot-2 guard from Soldotna joined the UAA basketball team this season, where he began his college career as a redshirt freshman three seasons ago.

The junior spent last season playing for Minnesota State Community and Technical College and, due to a back injury, hadn't seen many minutes since returning to the Seawolves until Monday and Tuesday's blowout nonconference wins over Northland International.

The Seawolves crushed the Pioneers 111-58 on Tuesday at the Wells Fargo Sports Complex as an encore to a 149-70 win on Monday. UAA improved to 8-4 heading into the holiday break and Northland fell to 4-11.

Blossom was averaging just seven minutes per game coming into the week, but he logged 35 minutes combined over the two days and scored his first points of the season. He drilled three 3-pointers and scored a combined 13 points to go with a combined 13 rebounds.

"He's one of the hardest guys to box out," said UAA guard Travis Thompson, who is Blossom's roommate. "He just crashes and rebounds so hard."

Each time Blossom entered the game Tuesday, there were soft hoots and cheers of "Boomer" escaping from the various places in the crowd.

"Those are my friends," said Blossom, whose parents make the trip up from Soldotna to see all his games.

Blossom's given name is Brendon, but his parents nicknamed him Boomer when he was 2.

Missing his family was a big reason for Blossom coming back to Alaska. He had never traveled outside the state before leaving for games with UAA as a sophomore. Blossom was thankful to be back in Alaska when his grandfather died in October, because he has been able to mourn with his family.

"He was just like the center of the the family," Blossom said. "Everything revolved around him."

The players and coaches at UAA are like another family to Blossom, and when he rejoined the team, he said it was like he never left. He fit right into the offensive and defensive systems that coach Rusty Osborne uses and adds a lot of intangibles to the team.

"He's a tough kid," said Osborne. "Even though he's got a smile on his face all the time that kind of hides his toughness."

When Blossom hit a 3-pointer around the midway point of the second half Tuesday, Thompson -- who scored a game-high 29 points -- stood up and waved his towel from the bench. Christian Leckband was right next to Thompson with his arms extended toward the ceiling in triumphant salute.

"Everyone cheers for everybody," Blossom said. "Everyone's a fan of everybody. It makes it nice on and off the court."

Northland (58) -- Lewis 6-11 2-2 17; Harrison1-5 1-1 3; Conover 2-6 1-3 6; Baines 7-19 3-3 18; Hinnant 5-10 0-0 10; Valenzuela 0-4 2-4 2 ; Potratz 1-1 0-0 2; Katzbeck 0-2 0-0 0; Walton 0-3 0-0 0. Totals: 22-61 9-13 58.

UAA (111) -- Mears 2-3 2-2 6; McGill 6-12 3-4 17; Thompson 7-13 9-10 29; Stafford 4-10 0-0 11; Fossman 8-19 1-1 24; Leckband 0-4 2-2 2; Lauwers 1-8 7-8 9; Blossom 2-8 1-1 6; McTier 2-2 0-0 4. Totals: 33-79 25-28 111.

Northland 33 25 --\t 58

UAA 51 60 -- 111

3-point goals -- Northland 5-27 (Lewis 3-5, Harrison 0-1, Conover 1-4, Baines 1-9, Hinnant 0-2, Valenzuela 0-3); UAA 20-49 (McGill 2-3, Thompson 6-11, Stafford 3-7, Fossman 7-15, Leckband 0-1, Lauwers 0-7, Blossom 1-4). Rebounds -- Northland 27 (Lewis, Harrison, 6); UAA 60 (Stafford, Lauwers 9); Total Fouls -- Northland 18; UAA 15; Fouled out -- none; Assists -- Northland 14 (Hinnant 5); UAA 23 (Fossman 6); Turnovers -- Northland 14 (Lewis 6); UAA 7 (three with 2); Blocks -- Northland 2; UAA 2; Steals -- Northland 3 (Hinnant 2); UAA 7 (Lauwers 3); Officials -- McNew; Paz; Tovoli. A -- 217.

 


By JEREMY PETERS
jpeters@adn.com