BY JACK BULLOCK
MT. VERNON – Back in February before the Woodlawn at Sesser-Valier
game I noticed that the Cardinals were getting ready to take the
floor wearing shirts sponsored by local insurance agent Scott
I walked up to Blake McKay, who was getting ready to lead his
team out onto the floor and I said “So are you Blake from
It got a chuckle from everyone standing there.
as I put things into perspective when looking at potential ABV
1A Deep South “Player of the Year” candidates, McKay
was just like the slogan of that company.
four years of varsity basketball (especially in 2019-20) "Like
a good neighbor, Blake McKay was there.”
a 6-foot-2 senior guard, is the 2019-20 ABV “POY”
for 1A and with good reason.
numbers stand out and his performances this season were some
of the best in the state.
we get to the career numbers, just take a look at his postseason
run in 2019-20.
the flu in the regional tournament, he only managed 13 points
in a narrow win over Norris City-Omaha-Enfield as Woodlawn survived
with a 32-30 win.
responded two days later with a 23 point showing in a 52-32
win over Wayne City to win the Edwards County 1A Regional.
he saved some of his best work for what turned out to be his
final two games of his prep career.
scorched Cobden on Tuesday night at the Norris City-Omaha-Enfield
1A Sectional, netting 31 points in the Cardinals 57-43 triumph.
in what turned out to be his final high school game, McKay was
once again brilliant as he nearly led his team to a comeback
victory over Goreville.
senior guard was nearly unstoppable, hitting for a game best
last second shot that would have tied the game rolled off of
the rim in a heartbreaking 59-57 season and prep career ending
career began as a freshman as he was part of three regional
championship teams and a sectional titlist.
averaged 22.8 points a night (798 points in 35 games) along
with 4.7 rebounds and 3.7 assists this season.
ended this fine career with a four-year varsity total of 2,336
points, which puts him in the Top 50 scorers in the long, storied
history of Illinois High School Basketball.
with most great players, he did much more than just score.
also ranks in the Top 10 on the school's career assists list
with 354 and with steals with 233.
senior leader also ripped down 531 rebounds in his career.
is now a three-time first-team ABV pick, after having been listed
after his sophomore and junior seasons.
is signed and ready to be a Bearcat as he is headed to D-2 McKendree
really hard to start and find the right words to describe what
Blake has meant to me, the Woodlawn basketball program and the
community of Woodlawn. I have dreaded this day for four years.
The day when he is done. Blake is everything you would want
in a high school athlete and, more importantly, a high school
student. Blake has put in so much time and hard work to make
himself a better player and to make our team better. Blake makes
everyone around him better, his teammates and coaches. Blake
is a relentless competitor which is why I think him and I had
such a close relationship. I will never be able to thank Blake
enough for the impact he had not only on me but our program.
His leadership towards our younger kids will leave a lasting
impact forever. Blake has earned every bit of the recognition
he has received because he has done it the right way and worked
tirelessly which is what you want when a kid receives the amount
of awards and attention that Blake has received. I will always
remember all the extra shots after practice and the conversations
about the game of basketball,” said Coach Gamber. “But
the thing I will remember the most is our conversations about
life and how he treats everyone with respect and humility. Blake
has been a huge part of my life these past four years and has
been like a son of mine. I would do anything for Blake and can
not wait to watch him continue his career at the next level.
Blake can be an example to all that if you work tirelessly and
treat people the right way you can do big things with your life
and there is no doubt he has huge things coming his way in the
game of life. I will miss him tremendously.”