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Wilson helped CdM achieve special year

Girls’ Basketball Dream Team

Senior post player, the Newport-Mesa Player of the Year, was glad she stuck around to help Sea Kings accomplish big things.

April 06, 2012|By Matt Szabo
  • Corona del Mar High senior Karleh Wilson is the Newport-Mesa girls' basketball Player of the Year.
Corona del Mar High senior Karleh Wilson is the Newport-Mesa… (KEVIN CHANG, Daily…)

Many times during her three-year high school basketball career, Karléh Wilson wondered if it was all worth it.

Transferring in to Corona del Mar High from Louisiana, she said it was hard to fit in during her sophomore year.

"There was this power struggle thing going on," Wilson said. "I wanted to be more vocal but I felt like I couldn't. My track career was going a lot better than I thought it would, so I thought I would have to quit basketball so I could focus on track."

Last year she became an elite thrower in track and field. Prior to her senior year, Wilson again seriously considered hanging up her hightops. This time it was more serious.

"I quit," she said. "I took basketball off my schedule and told the track coaches I was going to be in track for the whole school year."

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Wilson said CdM girls' basketball Coach Mark Decker and her teammates eventually talked her out of it. It was an emotional time for Wilson and her teammates.

"I kind of realized that they actually cared," she said. "I didn't think they would care, but everyone really cared. I think it really did bring us a lot closer. It wasn't just about, 'Oh, we might lose Karléh,' but everyone started realizing that we really wanted to be together. Especially the six seniors, we wanted this to be our year."

Wilson was an integral part of that special year for the CdM girls' basketball team. For that, she earns Newport-Mesa Dream Team Player of the Year honors.

She averaged team-bests of 10.4 points and 8.5 rebounds per game. As a 5-foot-6 post player, she matched up with players several inches taller than her nearly every game, always tenacious.

"When I was really young, my mom and my grandmother always taught me to walk with my head really high," she said. "My chin was always in the sky. People maybe thought that I was a little snobby, but growing up I always thought that I was taller than I actually was. My chin was always up. So when I finally started playing basketball, I was always playing the post, just because I played like I was taller. Back in Louisiana, the girls I was practicing with were extremely tall, well over 6 feet tall. It was just in my blood to play the post. It's not really difficult for me, because that's the way I learned to play basketball."

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