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Daily Pilot Boys' Basketball Dream Team: CdM's Grable is Player of Year

Sea Kings senior guard played what he called his best game in a loss to La Verne Damien in the CIF playoffs.

April 17, 2013|By David Carrillo PeƱaloza
  • Corona del Mar High's Blake Grable was the Daily Pilot High School Athlete of the Week in February.
Corona del Mar High's Blake Grable was the Daily… (DON LEACH )

Blake Grable had never played in a basketball gym as packed as Corona del Mar High's on Feb. 22.

It seemed like it was standing-room only. It seemed like the entire school came to watch the Sea Kings play La Verne Damien in the semifinals of the CIF Southern Section Division 3AA playoffs.

Grable's uncle, Don, is the athletic director at CdM, and on that night, he told fans to squeeze in to make room for others. There just wasn't enough room for more than 1,000 bodies to find a seat.

Many fans stood near the gym's entrance. And they stayed on their feet until the end because of Grable, the Daily Pilot Newport-Mesa Dream Team Player of the Year in boys' basketball.

The 6-foot-3 senior guard rallied CdM, accounting for half of the team's 32 points in the second half. Ten of Grable's points came in the fourth quarter in which he converted three three-point plays.

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His last three-point attempt in the quarter looked good, until it went in-and-out. The three would've cut the lead to two with about 11 seconds left to play.

The third-seeded Sea Kings never scored again and lost to No. 2 Damien, 61-53. Grable walked off the court, leading CdM with 23 points but falling short of leading the program to its 10th section title game in school history.

"This one is especially tough," Grable said after the Sea Kings' first semifinal appearance in six seasons. "We were at home, we had a huge crowd, everyone's into it, and we were right there. Just a couple of mistakes here and there and we ended up losing.

"It's the most fun I've ever had playing in a basketball game. Even though we didn't win, it was still the best game of my life, the most memorable."

Grable played one more high school game after the semifinals. He made the 48th annual Orange County North-South All-Star Game at Concordia University.

But the game Grable will never forget is the last one at home, in front of his fans. He said he fed off their energy.

Grable finished that evening as the lone CdM player to score in double figures. He got to 23 points, about 10 above his per-game average, by knocking down seven of 15 shots, six of eight free throws and three of seven three-pointers.

Grable also grabbed 10 rebounds, recorded five three-point plays, finishing two at the free-throw line, and came away with three steals.

Even though CdM (21-10) didn't qualify for the section championship game at the Anaheim Convention Center on Feb. 28, Grable, a first-team All-Pacific Coast League selection, still showed up.

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