RICHMOND -- During a decorated high school career, Mariya Moore led the Salesian girls basketball team in every major statistical category from freshman to senior year as she carried the team to three straight state championship games.

But the impact Moore had on the program went well beyond her scoring, rebounding, assists and steals. With her work ethic and incredible court vision, she made everyone around her elevate their game.

"Every player here is better because they've been in touch with Mariya," Salesian coach Steve Pezzola said.

In an outstanding year for girls basketball talent in the area, Moore rose to the occasion in her team's biggest games to earn Bay Area News Group's East Bay Player of the Year honors.

The versatile 6-foot guard was the driving force behind Salesian's strong second half of the season and its run to the CIF Open Division state final before losing to Long Beach Poly.

"Individually, my goal was to get us to state and win, but just getting there was good, too," Moore said. "We accomplished everything we wanted this season except winning state."

A national-level recruit as an underclassman, Moore became more dominant every year. She earned a scholarship to play at Louisville next season and was named a McDonald's All-American.

Her drive to keep improving is a big part of what makes her special.

"Her competitive zeal is amazing," Pezzola said. "She hates to lose at anything. It can be a shooting drill at practice where the loser has to do one push-up or something, and she'll go nuts trying to win it."


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Pezzola learned early on that the best way to get Moore better at something was to tell her she was really good at something, but not great. That's how Moore improved her left hand, midrange game and outside shooting over the years.

"She goes crazy because she has to be great," Pezzola said.

Moore averaged 17.8 points, 8.6 rebounds, 7.2 assists and 3.6 steals per game as a senior with six triple-doubles, including a quadruple-double.

And she had a knack for taking over in crucial games.

Moore averaged 24.8 points against St. Mary's as Salesian won four out of five meetings against its Tri-County Athletic League-Rock Division rival, which had a pair of McDonald's All-Americans of its own in Gabby Green and Mikayla Cowling.

Moore had 24 points, 14 rebounds and six steals in their final matchup of the year in the NorCal semifinals.

"Playing each other was the best part," Moore said. "You don't get that in every league, that type of rivalry. The fact that we're all friends off the court is cool, too."