Blumer takes control and leads Red Hawks' charge to sectionals
MILTON Morgan Blumer is saving her best for last.
The Milton High senior is wrapping up an illustrious four-year basketball career in impressive fashion.
Blumer has averaged more than 22 points a game over the last six games, including a season-high 32 against Oregon.
The elevated play of Blumer coincides with a late-season surge by the team. The Red Hawks (17-7) have won seven of their last nine games heading into Thursday night's Division 2 sectional semifinal game against Wilmot (22-2). Milton's only losses during the streak were to fourth-ranked Monona Grove, with one of them coming by just one point on a buzzer-beater.
"Those things are synonymous with each other," Milton coach Scott Randall said of the team and Blumer playing with a ton of confidence. "Our kids key off of Morgan, and she keys off of them.
"She makes them work harder, and makes the other team do stuff that they're not accustomed to because of her ability to do so many things well. Our balanced scoring, especially in our win against Whitewater, proves that we're not a one-person team."
Blumer had a miserable offseason. The 5-foot-11 forward and Florida Gulf Coast University recruit broke two ribs in an auto accident last April and broke her hand playing in an AAU basketball game last summer. She admits that she was not in "basketball shape" when the season started, and that may have led to the team's mediocre 4-3 start.
"I'm pretty close to 100 percent now," Blumer said. "I can always get better, but at least now I feel like I can do everything on the court like before.
"It was so frustrating when I broke my hand because it took me away from playing in July and August, when there are a lot of tournaments going on."
Blumer could end her Milton career as the third-leading scorer in school history. Kristy Roherty, Kassi Blumer and Kathie Kruizenga are the top three right now. Morgan's also the second Blumer to help lead a Red Hawk team to state. Older sister, Kassi, led Milton to the 2007 Division 1 state tournament where the Red Hawks lost 54-43 to Merrill in a quarterfinal game. Morgan was on the 2011 team that lost a Division 2 state semifinal game to New London.
Although the sisters are close, their style of play is not. Kassi was a force inside and an incredible free-throw shooter. Morgan is a threat from anywhere on the court—whether she's posting up, knocking down 3-pointers or attacking the rim.
"When you bring someone up as a freshman and start her and nobody questions it, that's telling you just how special of a player you have, and that's what we had in Morgan," Randall said. "And her sophomore year she played like a senior in helping us get to state.
"So we've basically had the good graces of riding that all this time."
It's a ride that Morgan Blumer and the rest of the Red Hawks don't want to end.
Last updated: 7:59 am Monday, April 29, 2013