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ERIC SONDHEIMER

Allen Crabbe is big time in a small school

Senior has elevated his game at Los Angeles Price, which is aiming at another boys' basketball state title.

February 08, 2010|Eric Sondheimer

At tiny Los Angeles Price, a school of kindergarten through 12th grade in the sprawling Crenshaw Christian Center, Allen Crabbe is the boy everyone has seen grow up before their eyes.

His grandfather, the Rev. Frederick K.C. Price, is the founder of the school. Crabbe has been a Price ball boy or student seemingly forever. When Price was winning five state Division V basketball championships in the last decade, he was preparing for his chance to join in the fun.

Now he has grown to 6 feet 6, makes three-point baskets as if they were free throws and has the skills to win any dunk contest. He also has a 3.5 grade-point average, has signed with California and has developed into one of the best players in the state.

"He's a zero-maintenance kid," Coach Michael Lynch said. "He's constantly in the gym. I don't ever have to think about him."

Crabbe has always been able to shoot and score, but he grew two inches and gained 10 pounds since his junior year, and the added strength has elevated his game. He is averaging 23 points and nearly 11 rebounds in leading Price to a 22-2 record with one week remaining in the regular season.

"Adding that strength to his game has really taken it to another level," Lynch said. "His mid-range game has just blown up. He's posting smaller people, where he wouldn't in the past. His game has just blossomed."

Said Crabbe: "It gives you more confidence when you know you have that strength to go up against other opponents."

In recent weeks, Crabbe has scored 38 points twice, against Ventura and Los Angeles Crenshaw. But it's his leadership that Lynch has appreciated most.

"When we've needed him to come through, he's been telling the team, 'Come on, guys, we can do this,' " Lynch said.

There's no better example for what a teenager can accomplish when combining athletics and academics than Crabbe, who has used his twin focus to put himself in position to have a bright future.

Talking about his many years attending Price, Crabbe said, "It's like a big family. You have teachers who care for you and always want you to do good and succeed in life. They're always on top of you, even if it's a little homework assignment you missed. They emphasize it's very important to get your work done, because you can have sports but without an education, you can't do anything."

While Price is heavily favored to win a Southern Section Division 4AA championship, the Knights won't consider it a successful season without a state title.

"Everybody's hungry," Crabbe said. "We've been to the game before the state championship and come up short."

It's almost as if Crabbe's destiny is to help Price win a state title in his final high school game next month in Bakersfield.

Regardless of what happens, based on what he has accomplished this season, he figures to have many more games ahead.

eric.sondheimer@latimes.com

twitter.com/LATSondheimer

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