At eight years old, Blake Sentman was already on the Cottage Grove High School basketball court nearly every game, running onto the court at halftime and pawing for a loose ball to shoot until the Lions returned from the locker room.
“All the coaches...they just knew me as the little kid they couldn’t keep off the court,” Sentman said with a laugh.
At the time, Sentman’s older brother Bryant Sentman was a member of the Cottage Grove High School’s basketball and football teams. Blake remembers attending his brother’s games, playing on the field or court at halftime and hoping that one day he could follow in Bryant’s footsteps.
After his older brother was recruited to Oregon Tech, Blake set the same goal to play sports at the college level.
Fast forward ten years and Blake is now a senior at CGHS and a four-year letterman in both football and basketball. But he is much more than just a member of these teams; Blake is a crucial element to them.
His senior year, Blake showed his prowess in football, taking home League Offensive Player of the Year honors, a First Team All-League (Offense) and First Team All-State selection for his work as the Lions’ quarterback.
When football season drew to a close, Blake didn’t. His senior basketball season, he was named Sky-Em Player of the Year and made the league’s First-Team roster and earned a spot on Oregon’s 4A First Team All-State list.
Blake said the decision to keep up the work in the off-season in both sports, which helped him achieve these honors, wasn’t a tough one to make.
“I grew up watching my brother doing that,” Blake said. “I also got to grow up getting to watch him play at the college level...I knew what I had to do to get there.”
And the first week of May this year, all that work paid off.
Blake accepted an offer from Lewis-Clark State College in Lewiston, Idaho to play basketball under head coach Brandon Rinta.
Though he had offers from other schools for both basketball and football, Blake said it was Rinta that solidified the decision to go to Lewis-Clark.
“The coach drew me there just because of how much he liked to connect with his players on a personal level,” Blake explained. “During the recruiting process, you don’t really find a lot of coaches that reach out to you and ask you how you’re doing throughout your day before you’ve even signed.”
Rinta recently completed his sixth year of coaching the Lewis-Clark State basketball program and said he is looking forward to having Blake on the team.
“We were just really impressed with him as a person and as a player and are really excited that it worked out for him to be coming over here and that he’s going to be part of our program next year,” Rinta said.
Once a student at Lewis-Clark State, Blake plans to study education with the hopes of becoming a physical education and health teacher. The path to teaching for Blake is one that has been inspired by none other than Cottage Grove High School physical education teacher and baseball coach Dan Geiszler, a man who has influenced multiple CGHS students to pursue a career in a teaching and coaching hybrid.
Because Blake’s major will likely take more than the standard four year time period to complete, he and Rinta have discussed the possibility of Blake redshirting his freshman year. Blake said this will give him an advantage of “a year to develop, get stronger, get used to the system.”
Blake is now less than a month from graduation, and he plans to head to Lewiston in August to begin his next chapter as a college athlete.
“I just can’t wait to get up there and start meeting the guys and playing,” Blake said.