1,000 down, record to goPublished 9:39am Tuesday, December 31, 2013 Updated 11:42am Tuesday, December 31, 2013
Although Blake Ohren has not been playing selfishly or nervously, he has known for some time how close he was to 1,000 career points.
He knew he was 75 points away when Ashby played Wheaton/Herman-Norcross in the playoffs last season.
He knew he was 55 points away when this season started.
He especially knew he was 16 points away when Ashby traveled to Battle Lake on Dec. 3 for their third game of the season.
Now, he’s got his eye on an even bigger record: the school’s all-time points mark.
Ohren scored his 1,000th career point on a free throw against Battle Lake. He received a standing ovation from the Battle Lake crowd, which he greatly appreciated.
But the personal mark came during an 83-46 loss, the team’s third in a row to start the season. That made the moment bittersweet for Ohren, but upon reflection, he is honored to be among the school’s leading scorers.
“Right when I got it I had butterflies,” he said. “it was always in the back of my mind.”
Ohren, a 6-3 senior forward, has impressed Ashby head coach Jeremy Knick dating back to his junior high days, where Knick also served as his coach.
“He’s been a gym rat since I started teaching here six years ago,” Knick said. “He was always calling me and texting me, asking me to open up the gym any chance I could.”
Knick did not have to worry about Ohren getting too tight or forcing the issue as he approached the benchmark. The head coach spoke with Ohren a few times about what could be done to get Ohren involved as much as possible in the offense, but the senior was more than happy as long as the team performed well.
After their rough start, that is just what they have done. After dropping their first four to start the year, Ashby has won four in a row to get back to .500. Ohren credits the team’s turnaround with improved chemistry and trust on the court.
That trust extends to the bench, where Knick has a lot of faith in his senior leaders, including Ohren.
“To me, any shot he takes is really not a bad shot,” said Knick, who credited Ohren with one of the best pull-up jumpers in the area.
A sign hangs on the wall of C.E. Bertram Gym congratulating Ohren on his 1,000th point. For Ohren, that sign stands as a constant dedication to improving his game and his passion for the sport.
“I’ve been shooting in my driveway since I was five,” he said. “I’ve always loved basketball.”
But Ohren is not satisfied with stopping now. His next goal is to become the school’s all-time top scorer. He is fourth on the school’s all-time list with 1,106 points.
To do so, he will have to surpass his cousin Riley Mickelson, who scored 1,253 points before graduating in 2012. Ohren will have to average 8.2 points per game over the team’s final 18 regular season games to break the mark, a figure certainly in reach considering his 20.1 ppg average in this season’s first eight games.
“It’s always a great accomplishment,” Knick said. “It’s been exciting. I look forward to him breaking a few more records this year.”