By Matt Nestor
Prep Sports Reporter
There is plenty of talent to begin with on the Boylan Titans girls’ basketball team. There is size with Halle Stull and Jane Horvat. There is great perimeter play with Jessie Schiro and Allie Zimmerman.
Those players, along with a host of others, would make the Lady Titans plenty competitive on their own. But two players make them dangerous.
Kayla Steward and Jensen Blassage could both be the stars of the team. Together, they combined to give Boylan as good a duo as there is in the conference.
Boylan will be looking to do the impossible next week by heading to Rockton Hononegah and trying to top the Indians in the IHSA Class 4A regional. But, they have already done the impossible once this year, topping Hononegah and ending their long conference winning streak.
To do it a second time, they will need their two best players to continue to play the way they have been playing.
In Blassage, the Titans have their leader and their rock. The senior has pulled them out of plenty of tight spots, including scoring 11 in the fourth quarter of a 9-point win at Auburn.
“She takes control,” Boylan Head Coach Paul Perrone said of the Lady Titans’ leader. “She’s a senior, she’s a great leader.”
What makes her special is her ability to play on the perimeter, but also mix it up down low. When needed, she can knock down a three or pick up a big bucket under the basket.
“We can play her inside and outside,” Perrone said. “I’m really pleased with her play.”
From there, it goes to the junior Steward. She is as good a shooter as you will find in the area, as shown when Boylan ended Hononegah’s streak behind her scoring outburst.
But Perrone said it is her ability to drive to the basket and get easy layups that makes her so dangerous. It makes opponents respect her drive and helps give her room to do what she does best, which is rain down threes.
“When she gets hot, she’s hot,” Perrone said. “When she gets the range and gets going, it helps us out tremendously.”
It will be a tough uphill battle for Boylan. If they get past Auburn a third time, which is no easy task, their toughest game of the year will be trying to knock off the favored Indians at home.
But Boylan has done it, and can do it again. When Boylan takes the floor, it is their size and depth that immediately catch everyone’s attention.
When the game starts, however, it is easy to tell it is Blassage and Steward that make things go. And if they continue to play like they have, it could be the start of a long run for the Titans.
From the Feb. 19-25, 2014, issue