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Sikeston standout to play basketball for Three Rivers

Sunday, April 30, 2006

Sikeston's Allison Blurton signs a letter of intent.
SIKESTON - Sikeston standout Allison Blurton has signed a letter of intent to play basketball and softball at Three Rivers Community College in Poplar Bluff next season.

A multi-sport athlete, Blurton was a star on three playing fields for Sikeston. She competed in softball, basketball and soccer.

Recovering from a shoulder injury that kept her from playing most of the softball season, Blurton turned in a nice basketball season for first-year head coach Fred Johnson.

"Alli (Blurton) was always the first one at practice," said Johnson. "When I got to practice, I mean she was already there. If it was a weekend practice or whatever, you can take it to the bank that when you got to practice she was there. It was a pleasure to work with her on a daily basis."

In a season when the Lady Bulldogs won the most games in school history for girls basketball, Blurton was the go-to-player that everyone on the team looked towards.

Blurton led the team in points, 17.3 per game and steals, three a game. Blurton also pulled down four boards a game from her guard position at Sikeston.

Blurton's efforts garnered her several post-season awards, first team in both the SEMO Conference and the Class 4 All-Region team.

A super cat-quick guard, Blurton can drain the three-point shot or take it hard to the hole. At 5-foot-8, Blurton was often tough to defend for the opposing teams.

"Alli is a big guard with super quickness," said Three Rivers head women's coach Jack Childress. "She can shoot the three and also go inside and mix it up. She can flat take it to the glass and can play anywhere at the three guard spots."

In recruiting Blurton, Childress described a situation in which once he found out about Blurton, he couldn't stay away.

"I wore out my welcome," said Childress, "I came to about every game she played. If we didn't have a game, I came to watch Alli play if I could. Alli just has tremendous skills and is a great competitor. She is one of the best, if not the best guard in Southeast Missouri. Alli can shoot it and she can really move on the court. Everybody is telling me, that she is even better in softball. Then somebody told me the other day that she is better than that at soccer. Now that is kind of scary to think about."

Humble and down-to-earth, Blurton's explanation for why she chose Three Rivers was quite simply a matter of distance and comfort with the program. "I am kind of a homebody and it (Three Rivers) is close to home," said Blurton. "I have seen their style of play and I believe that I would fit in nicely. Coach Childress has a good team over there and it will be exciting to join that caliber of team. I had opportunities elsewhere to play but they are so far away. Three Rivers made so much sense to me because of the location and, of course, the tradition associated with the college. A big factor in my decision besides location is Coach Childress. I think he is a really nice guy, very down to earth. I like him a lot."

For Childress, the family unit that surrounds Blurton was also a big factor. Ronnie and Karen Blurton, according to Childress, were parents who had a deciding role in wanting Blurton to play on the Three Rivers campus.

"Alli comes from a good family, excellent people," said Childress. "That is what attracted me, we look for good people. I really believe Alli is going to step right in and help us because her solid background is definitely a positive."

Besides her outstanding play at basketball, Blurton is just as solid, if not more, playing softball.

Despite missing most of the softball season, Sikeston head softball coach Tiffany King stated that Blurton has meant a lot to the up-and-coming softball program at Sikeston.

"We are trying to turn around a program and it is always a pleasure to see one of your own go on to the next level in any sport," said King. "Alli has built a work ethic that I hope she will keep throughout her life. It means a lot to me that Alli has had the dedication needed to play at the next level."

As a junior, Blurton was an All-District pick in softball. When fully healthy, Blurton can rip the ball to all fields and has excellent range in the field. "Her (Blurton) speed will be a great attribute for us," said Three Rivers head softball coach Christa Albright. "Alli is very quick and is a power hitter. Also, she is an excellent defensive shortstop. Alli is just an all-around nice ball player and will fit into our program very well."

Blurton is ready to get going at Three Rivers and has already met some of her future teammates.

"I have met a few of the players and they are fun and outgoing like me," said Blurton. "To be honest, I am a little bit more shy than they are, but I will come around. I am both nervous and excited about the future. I think playing basketball for Three Rivers, I can bring speed to the team. They have got a ton of athletes over there and maybe my speed will help out in some way. I am not going in thinking I've got it all down. My defense needs some work and I know going in that is going to be my main focus. I am going to improve in all areas, but working on my defensive skills is priority No. 1."

King and Johnson are confident that Blurton can make a big impact at Three Rivers in both sports.

"I think Alli will fit in perfectly at Three Rivers," said King. "There was a couple of colleges looking at her for basketball. I know she wanted to play both basketball and softball and I think Three Rivers fits her well. They are getting a great person and, if nothing else, Alli will always give 100 percent."

As for Johnson, after an adjustment period, he thinks Blurton is going to shine at Three Rivers.

"At first, Alli is going to be a little shell-shocked with the rigorous practices and getting used to being away from home," said Johnson. "But once she gets adjusted, I think she is going to be just fine. I believe she will surprise some people who don't know her because she has an outstanding work ethic, has that pit bull style which any program would be lucky to have."