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February 16, 2014

Basketball Beat: Salem seniors at the head of the class

Salem boasts three elite scholar-athletes

SALEM — After a big road win, the bus ride home can be strangely subdued.

Animosity? Jealousy? Injury?

None of the above.

“We’ll do our homework on the bus,” said point guard Brenna Blakslee.

Blakslee is one of three Salem basketball stars who are also three of the top students in the senior class.

A rare blend of drive and talent, the three have Salem (9-6, 8-5 in N.H. Division 1) on pace for one of its best seasons in recent years while continuing to rank near the top of the class academically.

Blakslee is at the top of the class, No. 1 out of 360 seniors. Returning Eagle-Tribune All-Star Emily Hickey is No. 11 and Amanda Bickford is No. 17.

They are also carrying the load offensively with Bickford averaging a team-high 13.9 points a game, Hickey 9.9 ppg and Blakslee 7.6 ppg. Sophomore defensive standout Allie Sirmaian contributing 7.8 points a game.

The seniors are close friends with Hickey and Blakslee life-long best friends.

“We all have the same goal and we all want the best for each other,” said Hickey, who with 836 career points has an outside chance of joining the 1,000-point club. “We are so happy for each other. With others, there would be competition.”

Blakslee is from a noted academic family. Her father, Dana Blakslee, is a lawyer in Boston. Her brother, Robert Blakslee, a graduate of Brooks School, was a top student at the University of Chicago, one of the country’s top schools. He won a prestigious Fulbright Scholarship and is studying in Mexico. Her sister, Danica Blakslee, graduated in the top five percent of the class at Salem and is studying chemical engineering at Northeastern.

Blakslee, who plans to play basketball and study chemical engineering at WPI, is proud of her academic achievements. That includes winning the Harvard Book Award and scoring a 30 on her ACT (the equivalent of a 2,070 on the SAT), a 5 on the AP Calculus exam and a 4 on the AP Biology exam.

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