EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

February 4, 2013

Lawrence basketball player used sport to persevere while homeless


She worked hard this summer on her shooting and transformed herself from a post-player to guard. Her shooting has been much better lately than at the beginning of this season. She entered Friday averaging 9.2 ppg in her previous five games.

“She’s teaching her teammates as bad as basketball can get sometimes, we’re going to fight through it and we’re going to be all right,” Blouin said. “Whatever the score is going to be, there’s always something worse that can happen in life— that we’re lucky to play basketball. She’s a great teammate. She’s a junior captain. That’s kind of rare. But I’ve seen her grow since her freshman year.”

The state offers homeless students bus rides to and from school, Blouin said. But Jimenez was unable to take advantage of the rides home because she was playing basketball.

“So she could’ve easily given up,” Blouin said. “We found many different ways to get her to and from — teammates, myself, the assistant coaches.”

Jimenez always has been a hard worker. Blouin once helped coach at a summer camp at UMass-Lowell in which Jimenez attended.

“Karisha was dead (tired) after the second day,” Blouin said. “The next day I asked her what she went home and did. She said that she was dribbling until about 8:30 at night. I said, ‘What do you mean? You left here yesterday like you were going to pass out — go to sleep right away.’ She goes, ‘I went home, took a shower, slept for like a half an hour and went back out and started dribbling.’ That’s the kind of person she is.”

Blouin’s help certainly shouldn’t go unrecognized.

“Coach Blouin was awesome,” Villegas said. “He used to come pick her up, take her to the games and everything. It helped a lot. They still help.”

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