There are certain problems inherent when North Central basketball players Chris Allen and Chris Blotsky are on the court.
Coach Jay Webber said it is difficult making sure his two stars know which Chris he’s addressing when he shouts out instructions during a game.
“I know what I’m thinking,” said Webber. “Usually, they know who I’m talking to, but sometimes they don’t.”
His dilemma is minor compared with the one facing other Greater Spokane League teams. How do you stop the pair from scoring?
Allen and Blotsky are the two leading scorers in the GSL, averaging 18.2 and 15.7 points per game, respectively, going into the final week of the season.
The Indians have had several outstanding scorers in the last two decades. Spokane golf professional Chris Mitchell in 1975, said assistant coach Len Long, was the last NC GSL scoring champion.
To have the league’s top two scorers is unusual. Despite their gaudy scoring numbers, both are unselfish to a fault.
“They might take 25 shots a game between both of them,” said Webber. “That’s not enough.”
Still, they are the reason that the Indians had a chance to make the district playoffs entering the week. Webber wants the ball in their hands with a game on the line.
“We live and die with them,” said Webber. “They’ve carried us a long way.”
Blotsky is a four-year veteran of the Indian varsity. He and teammate Sean Allbery started with the freshman team, moved up to junior varsity and joined the varsity to help then-coach Don Van Lierop prove a point.
“The team was really struggling,” Blotsky recalled. “Most of the players were juniors and their attitude was not so good. Coach brought us up to get them thinking.”
Allen remembers his first varsity game clearly. It came as a sophomore in the new Arena during the annual Groovy Shoes game against Shadle Park.
“(Webber) kneels in front of the bench and tells me to go in,” said Allen. “I said, ‘What?’ He told me to play defense.”
Allen also launched a 3-point shot that found nothing but net.
“I shot 100 percent in that game,” he laughed.
It was the beginning of a wonderful relationship between the two Chrises.
“We complement each other pretty good,” admitted Blotsky.
Says Blotsky of Allen, “When he has the ball, watch out. He can take anybody to the hole.”
Says Allen of Blotsky, “He makes strong, strong cuts, runs the floor well and is a great jumper.”
Each defers to the other as the better 3-point shooter. Both give credit to their teammates for setting the picks that allow them to get open. Both will readily give up the ball for a better shot, although Webber wouldn’t mind them shooting more.
“They’ve been good about trying to involve the team and develop chemistry,” said Webber.
Blotsky played at Assumption Parochial School. He grew up shooting with his father at a basket on their house, until it came down to make way for rain gutters.
Allen never had a hoop at his house, but dribbled a basketball for hours off the concrete floor in his basement. He enrolled for a time at Mead High before coming to NC.
While Blotsky was sixth-man on varsity his sophomore year, and Webber’s first as coach, Allen ran the point for the jayvee.
“At times he made plays a varsity starter would have trouble making,” said Webber. “Other times he played like a sophomore in his first game.”
Blotsky led the team in scoring last season with an 11.6 average. Allen blossomed this year.
A summer of hard work has led to an MVP-type season with Allen more than doubling his scoring average.
“I don’t know if anyone wants to succeed as badly as I do,” he said.
NC went from the middle of its league to a championship of the high school summer league last year.
Tuesday night’s loss to University jeopardized their chances. All the scoring in the world would leave both athletes unsatisfied.
“It doesn’t mean much if we’re not in the playoffs,” said Blotsky.
Not entirely. Finishing one-two in GSL scoring is an accomplishment anyone should be proud of.
, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Photo
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