Westchester junior Mariah Blake aims to study business in college (Amanda Scurlock/L.A. Sentinel)

Westchester junior forward Mariah Blake led the Lady Comets girls’ basketball team to the Open Division City Section Championship earlier this month. Blake scored 20 points to help the Lady Comets win 51-44 against the Granada Hills Highlanders in the matchup.

“I feel like this year, we’re all one big happy family and we all love each other and we all support each other,” Blake said about the Lady Comets. “We’re just all there for each other and it’s a different impact.”

This past season marked her third year playing varsity basketball. At the start of her junior year, Blake became more vocal with the team and held her teammates accountable during practice and games.

“I started telling them what to do, letting my team know what needs to be done,” Blake said. “I just stepped up and made sure we’re all in shape, make sure we’re all focused in practice.”

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Along with playing for Westchester, Blake competes with the Paul George Elite AAU team. With the team, she competed throughout the United States, including Kentucky, Indiana, and Chicago.

“AAU, we focus on skill sets, it helps me with my skill sets, it helps me with my confidence because coming into Westchester, I was very shy,” Blake said. “But I’ve grown out of that so it really helps you.”

During this season, Blake noticed that her confidence had improved.

“When another one of my teammates are not doing good in the game, I have to remember that I have to step up and be confident to take that shot,” Blake said. “I have to be confident of what to do in the game and what can help us win and what can help everybody have smiles at the end of the game.”

A proud moment for Blake was when the Lady Comets traveled to San Diego to compete in a tournament. Her performance earned her tournament MVP honors.

“That was a big moment for me because I really did not think I was gonna win that,” Blake said. “I worked hard the whole San Diego trip … I worked hard for myself and worked hard for my team.”

Blake aspires to go to college to compete in basketball and major in business. She makes sure to maintain good grades so she can make her dreams come true. Blake noted how her mother also encourages her to get good grades.

“She says “grades before basketball. You have to make sure you prioritize your time so you can be able to do both,”” Blake said. “I want to go to USC and you have to have good grades for that.”

Blake enjoys learning math, it becomes easier for her when she has a good teacher that can explain how to solve the equations.

“Everybody asks me for help, all of my friends,” Blake said. “I even do work on the board. The teacher allows me to because it’s very easy.”