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June 02, 2011 7:34 am

Rocky standout signs with Northwest College

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Rocky Mountain High School standout Leslie Blackburn will be staying close to home after signing a letter of intent to play basketball for Northwest College next season. Blackburn will join another local product, Powell’s Leslie Thronburg, as members of the 2011 recruiting class.

“When Coach Beal talked to me, it was real exciting to have an option to play,” Blackburn said. “She’d like me to be a three or a four, so I’ll have to work on my perimeter game a bit more. I played inside a lot in high school.”

At 5-foot-10, Blackburn could create some matchup issues with opponents as she drifts away from the basket. Her former high school coach says that sort of versatility will assist Blackburn greatly as she transitions to junior college ball.

“Her greatest asset is her athleticism,” notes Rocky Mountain High School girls’ basketball coach Ryan Boettcher, who directed the Grizzlies to a 21-6 mark and a 2A consolation championship in 2011. “Athletically, physically, she can keep up at the next level. She runs the floor well, handles the ball well. She can finish with both hands. Jumping-wise, she has a good vertical and she’s very good at working off the back side under the basket.”

In addition to playing four years of varsity basketball for the Grizzlies, Blackburn was an all-conference selection for two years in volleyball, where she played for the 2010 state champions. She also holds state medals from track in the high jump, 4x800 relay and 4x100 relay. Blackburn was also named to the principal’s honor roll at Rocky Mountain and is a member of National Honor Society.

“I’m excited to have another player from the Big Horn Basin to join our team,” said Northwest College women’s basketball coach Janis Beal. “Excelling in three different sports shows how athletic Leslie is. She rebounds extremely well even though she is not the biggest player on the court. She’s also the type of student-athlete we want to bring to our program. She has proven herself in the classroom as well.”

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