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Burzell's 31 points lead Laguna Beach past Newport Harbor and to Grizzly Invitational boys' basketball final

Blake Burzell is wearing a different jersey number these days for the Laguna Beach High boys' basketball team.

Gone is his home No. 22 jersey.

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The senior said he left the jersey at Godinez High on the first day of the Grizzly Invitational on Monday.

"Someone took it," Burzell said.

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Someday that jersey might be worth something. Burzell, at 6 feet 6, hopes to go in the Major League Baseball draft next June.

While the right-handed pitcher has a promising future in baseball, Burzell can also play basketball. He showed it Friday night in the semifinals of the Grizzly Invitational.

Burzell came out in a No. 44 jersey, and for him, he said he felt "two times better." He played like it in the second half against Newport Harbor.

The Breakers overcame a slow start, thanks to Burzell. He scored 21 of his game-high 31 points in the second half, leading the Breakers to a 64-52 win and a trip to the championship game.

Laguna Beach (4-0) advanced to the Grizzly Invitational final for the second time in five seasons. The Breakers will play Aliso Niguel at Godinez on Saturday at 7:45 p.m. Aliso Niguel beat Laguna Beach for the tournament title in 2013-14.

The third-place game will be between the Sailors and San Clemente at 6:15 p.m.

Newport Harbor High coach Bob Torribio doesn't like a call by the referee in the semifinals of the Grizzly Invitational on Friday.
Newport Harbor High coach Bob Torribio doesn't like a call by the referee in the semifinals of the Grizzly Invitational on Friday. (Scott Smeltzer / Staff Photographer)

Newport Harbor (3-1), making its first semifinal appearance in the Grizzly Invitational, led 27-20 at halftime. But its best defender, Dayne Chalmers, picked up his second foul in the waning seconds of the first half while Burzell took a shot from behind the arc.

Burzell only made one of the three free throws, but getting the 6-4 Chalmers into foul trouble helped the Breakers.

"I know his dad [Evan, who went to Laguna Beach], so we did that on purpose," Laguna Beach coach Bret Fleming said jokingly.

Chalmers, who is also a two-sport standout like Burzell, Chalmers' top sport is volleyball, got his third foul 25 seconds into the second half. The junior exited, and Laguna Beach went on an 18-4 run.

Burzell scored 10 of his team's points during the spurt, including hitting two three-pointers. Laguna Beach led 40-34 after three quarters.

When you get a good player like Blake right there, you get a hand in his face and he makes shots, you got to come down on the other end and make a shot as well


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The Sailors kept it close, until the 4½-minute mark in the fourth quarter. The Breakers got hot from three-point range, producing 12 of the next 14 points. Owen McMurray knocked down two three-pointers, and Burzell and Grady Morgan added one three each during the run.

McMurray finished with 15 points, all coming on his five three-pointers. Burzell had four threes. The Breakers made 12 threes.

"When you get a good player like Blake right there, you get a hand in his face and he makes shots, you got to come down on the other end and make a shot as well," said Newport Harbor coach Bob Torribio, whose team made only three of 13 field goals in the third quarter. "You got to score to beat them. You can't just defend them all night."

Burzell had 11 points on four-of-six shooting in the fourth quarter. He shot 50% for the game.

Chalmers led Newport Harbor with 12 points, and Brad Siegel added 11.

"He's one of their better players, he crashes the boards," Burzell said of Chalmers. "I could tell he's a volleyball guy by the way he jumps, just the way he moves."

*

Grizzly Invitational

Semifinals

Laguna Beach 64, Newport Harbor 52

SCORE BY QUARTERS

Newport Harbor 12 – 15 – 7 – 18 — 52

Laguna Beach 10 – 10 – 20 – 24— 64

NH – Chalmers 12, Siegel 11, Barela 9, Swies 9, Spooner 7, Bashore 2, Harvey 2.

3-pt. goals – Swies 3, Siegel 1.

Fouled out – None.

Technicals – None.

LB – Burzell 31, McMurray 15, C. Rounaghi 8, Naess 7, Morgan 3.

3-pt. goals – McMurray 5, Burzell 4, C. Rounaghi 1, Morgan 1, Naess 1.

Fouled out – None.

Technicals – None.

Get more of David Carrillo Peñaloza's work and follow him on Twitter @ByDCP

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