Blackmon steps it up during La Jolla High spring-summer league
by ED PIPER
Jul 11, 2014 | 1436 views | 0 0 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend | print
La Jolla High School Vikings guard Gaynor Blackmon, left, pushes the ball upcourt during a spring league game against Mount Miguel.  PHOTO BY ED PIPER
La Jolla High School Vikings guard Gaynor Blackmon, left, pushes the ball upcourt during a spring league game against Mount Miguel. PHOTO BY ED PIPER
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Diminutive guard Gaynor Blackmon, a senior on the La Jolla High School basketball team, carries a big smile and wending ways as he steps into a new role as a leader among his teammates during spring and summer league play over the past three months.

“The player I’m really happy with at this point is Gaynor,” said coach Paul Baranowski as La Jolla took a break during the three-day July Fourth weekend from what has been an almost continuous spring league and team camp schedule since May. “His on-the-floor leadership has been great. He is an extension of the coach on the floor. He is leading by example, and he continues to improve his skill set.”

Blackmon is listed as 5’ 7” but looks more like a true 5’ 4”, sneaking under, around and even through his opponents to make the assist or to move toward the basket in the Vikings’ team-oriented offense.

Baranowski said that during the Vikings’ recent jaunt to Arizona (where his own family and coaching roots lay), some good things happened. For one, junior Alex Pitrofsky, La Jolla’s tallest player at 6’ 6” and coming up from last year’s junior varsity, “had his eyes opened” by the quicker speed of varsity play. “I thought he had a great weekend at San Diego State,” said Baranowski, referring to the team camp the Vikings participated in locally June 27 through 29.

Another incoming junior, Tony Coan, has impressed the coach with his shooting, besides the intangibles he brings. “He is shooting the ball very, very well,” said Baranowski of the two-guard. “He’s super-coachable, and he really shoots it well.”

The Vikings’ returning starters include guards Ladd Castellano, Owen Porter and Reed Farley.

“Owen is super-dependable,” said his coach. “He gives a great effort every time he steps on the floor. He takes pride in defending the opposing team’s best player, and his shot has really improved.”

Others in the mix are Zach Duffy, Morgan Albers, Daniel Hemming, Grant Miller and Eddie Parker.

“It has been a really productive summer,” Baranowski said. “People are settling into their roles. This (the roster playing in the recent SDSU team camp) is really the first group that has been all of our guys, so they have a better understanding of what I want them to do. The camaraderie among the guys is outstanding.”

Regarding Castellano, he said, “Ladd is really beginning to understand what we want out of him. He has come a long way in understanding when we want him to have the ball in his hands, and when we want him to share it.”

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