Casey keeps playing as Blank family gets ready to moveWritten by Brandi Barhite | Community Ombudsman | firstname.lastname@example.org
Editor’s note: Toledo Free Press will follow the Blank family of Millbury for the next year as they rebuild their lives after a June 5 tornado destroyed their Main Street home.
Casey Blank is staying focused on basketball amidst the excitement of moving back home.
The Blanks are scheduled to return to their Millbury neighborhood before Christmas. Their house, which was destroyed in the June 5 tornado, is almost finished.
Meanwhile, school and sports continues to normalize life for Casey, who has been living in an Oregon condo with his family. The 5-foot-10-inch-sophomore won’t miss any games or practices when the day to move finally arrives.
“I am not going to take off,” said the junior varsity player. “It is a long season, but I like to play in all the games because it is fun to do.”
He is set to start in the first boys’ game of the season for Lake High School on Dec. 4. The game against Rossford will be played in the Student Health Athletic Center (SHAC) at Owens, which is where all home games will be hosted as tornado-damaged Lake High School is rebuilt.
No. 5 Casey said his position is “kind of a guard.” He basically doesn’t dribble much, but he shoots more. He said he is best at three-pointers and foul shots.
His coach, Clyde Ickes, said he knew about Casey’s house but hasn’t really talked to him about it.
“He knows that I will help if he needs it, but I like basketball to be a getaway for him,” Ickes said.
Ickes said Casey is a fantastic player who is one of the best hustlers on the team. He said the team is ready for its first game at Owens.
“We are going to treat it like home, that is going to be our attitude,” Ickes said.
In addition to basketball, Casey plays golf and baseball for Lake. His favorite is baseball, then basketball and then golf.
“Compared to baseball and golf, we do more running and it is more up-tempo,” he said of basketball.
Casey said the talk about the tornado has dwindled in recent months, although he doesn’t mind talking about it.
“At first it was hard and stuff and now I am used to it,” Casey said.
He didn’t lose any basketball equipment in the tornado, but he had shoes in the house that he found among the debris after the tornado. He wore those shoes to basketball practice until the team got new shoes.
Since Lake High School was also destroyed in the tornado, basketball practices are at East Broadway Middle School and Lake Middle School. The temporary Lake High School, which does not have a gym, is at a building owned by Owens on Tracy Road in Northwood.
Before the tornado, Casey used to leave for school at 7:10 a.m. and be there in five minutes. In Oregon, he leaves at 7:10 a.m. and doesn’t get to school until 7:25 p.m.
Aside from the longer drive, Casey said school and sports seem normal.
“It has been pretty much the same,” he said. “I do my same stuff, but just in a different place.”