OK, so it wasn’t as dramatic as the Boston Red Sox’s Ted Williams belting a home run on his last swing at Fenway Park. But senior guard Sara Blandin scoring the final point in her final game as a Warren Wilson College basketball player was truly a memorable moment for her and her Owl teammates and coaches. (As a December graduate, Blandin isn’t eligible to play in games after the winter break.)
Even better, Blandin’s free throw with two seconds remaining put the lid on the Owls’ sixth straight victory, 64-56 over Barber-Scotia on Dec. 14 at DeVries Gymnasium. The win improved the WWC women’s record to 9-3 heading into the break.
Owls Coach Rob Shook made a brilliant substitution when he inserted starter Blandin back into the game with only eight ticks left on the game clock. As fate would have it, she was fouled after grabbing a defensive rebound with just two seconds remaining and the Owls in the double bonus.
With the score 63-56, Blandin stepped to the line and missed the first of two free throws. But she calmly nailed the second one, the final shot of her collegiate career, to provide the final margin of victory. Shook then took her out of the game to a nice ovation from the DeVries faithful.
Blandin’s final line in her final game, in 20 minutes of action, included two points, two rebounds, two assists and a steal. But you can bet that the most meaningful numbers to her were 64 and 56.
“Sara is not only a basketballer at heart, but also a dedicated teammate,” Owl junior forward Renee Scherer said. “She brings an energy that is not to be replaced. She has been my best friend and role model for two years on and off the court.”
Blandin was busy even at halftime of the Owls’ win, when she got a big group hug from her teammates after being recognized for playing in her final game. She then drew the winning name in the 2013 Women’s Basketball Team Raffle, with a 10-day, 9-night stay at Casa Blandin in Marbella, Spain, on the line.
And the raffle winner? Keri Willever, Warren Wilson associate director of admission and 1995 WWC graduate in outdoor leadership. Fifty percent of the $4500 raised by the raffle goes to the women’s basketball program; 25 percent to the WWC Athletic Department; and 25 percent to the WWC Athletic Hall of Fame. It seems that everyone associated with Owl athletics was a winner at Sara Blandin’s final game.