Kim Blankinship’s No. 14 jersey was retired prior to Torrance’s Pioneer League-opening match with South Torrance Saturday night. Blankinship, one of the most decorated and successful athletes in the school’s long history, was remembered again as a warm example of what a young athlete can be. The Torrance Challenge Tournament was renamed the Kim Blankinship Memorial Tournament, with proceeds going toward a scholarship fund for high school girls from the four Torrance schools. Torrance players warmed up in T-shirts with Blankinship’s No. 14 and her initials. South Torrance players and coaches wore pink armbands with `KB 14′ marked on them. Blankinship’s parents, Mike and Yoka, their daughter Kristi and grandchildren Kennedy and Dylan were invited to center court before the match began. A tribute was read before Torrance’s Nathan Jones and South’s Robert Kutch, both of whom coached Blankinship, unveiled a banner with her name and No. 14. The family also was presented with a framed No. 14 Torrance volleyball jersey. “What this means to me is how many people loved her and how many people want to have her name go on,” Mike Blankinship said later, visibly moved. “Seeing that No. 14 hanging there means a lot.” Kutch came up with the idea of renaming the tournament. He retains fond memories of Blankinship, who died suddenly at age 31 last March. “Off the court, she would make you smile, and on the court, I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a more competitive person,” he said. “I’d make my boys teams watch her and ask them, `Why can’t you compete like that?’ It was bad for their egos, but when you watched her play, she proved the point.” Jones laughed when asked to recall a favorite memory of Blankinship. “She just had no fear,” Jones said. “That lack of fear was prevalent in everything she did. I used to watch her play soccer and just run around and clear out the back field. On a volleyball court, she could plaster people.” Mike Blankinship said he hopes that the scholarship program grows. “The biggest thing is that her memory goes on,” he said. “It means so much to have her scholarship fund go on. With some of the events we’ve had and some of the donations, we have enough in there to give quite a few more scholarships.” South beat Torrance, 25-19, 25-21, 19-25, 25-20. The match was made a league contest to accommodate tournament schedules for both teams. But the match was a moot point on an emotional night. “We probably should have retired her number when she was alive, she was that good,” Jones said. “If anybody deserved to have her number retired, it was her.” “I’ll be able to tell my girls, and my guys for that matter, that this is how you’re supposed to play a team sport,” he said. email@example.comWant local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! GIRLS VOLLEYBALL: Match is bumped to background as Torrance, South honor late star. By John Klima STAFF WRITER The stories came flooding back for her family and former coaches, and should anyone ask why, they can point to the rafters at the Torrance High gym.