Twin Falls, ID ( KMVT - TV / KTWT - TV ) Of course, there were the nerves.
"I was definitely scared,” Holly Blades said. “Well first of all, I was really out of shape, and they were in this great shape,” she laughed.
“I was like, 'Okay.’ As soon as I got home, I was like, ‘I need to be running every day—like miles— because I'm going to die!"
CSI freshman Holly Blades learned fast and now she's surviving and shining for the Golden Eagles.
"Holly does it all,” CSI head coach Randy Rogers said.
“She kind of fills up a stat sheet. She'll have assists, she'll get steals, she'll get the rebounds, and she'll have some really big games scoring for us."
The 5'11 guard has earned a quick reputation around the league as a shooter. She's second on the team in points per game and has scored in double figures in seven of the team's eleven contests.
"I've always been a shooter, ever since Y-ball, AAU—that's always been my strong side,” she said.
Blades has also been big on the boards. With CSI post player Sarah Larson out indefinitely, the long and athletic freshman is second on the team in rebounds and recorded an impressive 16 rebound, 16 point performance against Pima Community College.
"[They were] all defensive too,” Blades said with a laugh. “I saw my one defensive and one offensive, and I was like, 'Okay, I need to work on my offensive,’ but yeah, it was exciting because I've never had that many rebounds before."
It's not all about stats, though. Blades said that the atmosphere at CSI has helped her acclimate and develop beyond the court.
"I haven't had this good of a relationship with a team before," she said.
"She's a great kid, that's the other part of this whole thing,” Rogers said. “She's a great student, she's a good kid, and very outgoing, and I think she's earned a lot of respect from everybody, sophomores and freshman."
"Having a bunch of other people that care too, it changes your feeling for the game and makes you respect it and work harder," she added.
While her freshman campaign has been stellar so far, Blades hopes to show everyone that the Gem state produces quality players.
"The traveling teams, every time I'd go out of town, they'd be like, 'Oh it's an Idaho team. Doesn't matter,” Blades said.
“So it's nice kind of show people that there's talent here."