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Bruening stands tall for CdM

Daily Pilot High School Athlete of the Week

Sophomore center helps Sea Kings in a variety of ways.

January 17, 2014|By Matt Szabo
  • Corona del Mar High's Natalia Bruening is the Daily Pilot High School Athlete of the Week.
Corona del Mar High's Natalia Bruening is the Daily… (Don Leach, Daily…)

To say that Corona del Mar High sophomore Natalia Bruening has grown up around basketball might be a bit of an understatement.

Her parents, 6-foot-6 Christoph and 6-foot-3 Julia, met while her dad was coaching her mom on a professional team in Germany. The family moved to Newport Beach when Natalia was 3 years old, and she started playing basketball at the Eastbluff Boys and Girls Club just a couple of years later.

"I didn't really play that much," Natalia Bruening said. "I just sat on the bench, because it was boys and girls [playing together]. I was just on the sideline cheering."

Bruening has come a long way in the nine years since then. She has not just grown up around basketball. She's grown into her own 6-foot-3 frame, and she's also grown into a leader for the CdM girls' basketball team.

The Sea Kings, who are ranked No. 5 in CIF Southern Section Division 3AA, are dangerous this year with Bruening and 6-2 sophomore post player Krista Anderson in the middle. Just ask Newport Harbor and Irvine.

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CdM won at the rival Sailors, 44-23, in the Battle of the Bay game on Jan. 7. Bruening, the Daily Pilot Athlete of the Week, played large with 17 points and 17 rebounds. Three days later, the Sea Kings won their Pacific Coast League opener, 47-34, at home against Irvine.

Winning the league opener might not seem like a big deal, but for the Sea Kings it certainly was just that. It was just their third win in league in the last three years. Bruening again played an important, yet different role. She didn't shoot much, but still contributed eight points, matching season-highs with 22 rebounds and five blocked shots.

The numbers are easy to calculate this year. Julia keeps them courtside, on a tablet application. The stat line against Irvine really just highlighted Natalia's maturity. She's willing to do whatever it takes to help CdM go.

"She's putting it all together," CdM Coach Mark Decker said. "I think other teams are game-planning to try to stop Natalia, but she can dominate a game without scoring. She dominated that [Irvine] game in the second half, rebounding and blocking shots. She changes games in those ways, just as much as scoring."

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