SACRAMENTO -- After the final buzzer sounded in the Salesian High girls basketball team's 62-60 loss to Serra-Gardena on Saturday in the California Interscholastic Federation Division IV state championship game, the Pride's Mariya Moore smiled, clapped and said, "Great game."
Why that response?
"No matter what the outcome was, I just wanted our team to go out and play with its all," Moore said. "They played with their heart."
So did Moore. The junior star scored 35 points, just two off the Division IV girls state championship record set by Piedmont's Courtney Paris in 2004. She also set a record for all divisions for free throws made (17) and attempted (20). Moore also had 10 rebounds, five assists and four steals.
Serra coach McKinsey Hadley called Moore's performance "LeBron James-esque.".
"Stop fouling the girl," said Hadley about what he was telling his team about Moore. "When you have a young lady that can do everything like her, you have to take your hat off."
The Pride (29-8) had to overcome a large deficit to get close to the Cavaliers (30-5) at the end. Salesian trailed 36-21 early in the third quarter. But two free throws by Alana Horton started a 10-0 run that put the Pride back in the game.
"We've been behind all year and we've never given up," Salesian coach Steve Pezzola said.
The Pride closed the gap to 41-39 on two free throws by Moore with 1:04 left in the third quarter. Serra stretched its lead to 49-43 with 6:28 left, but the Pride responded again and narrowed Serra's lead to 52-51 with 2:26 remaining on an offensive rebound by Zoe Correal.
Serra went on an 8-2 run in the next 92 seconds to help put the game away. A layup by Horton closed Serra's lead to 62-60 with less than a second remaining, but Salesian could not get closer.
Serra's Siera Thompson scored a team-high 26 points, including a trio of three-pointers, and Deandrea Toler added 20 points and eight rebounds.
Both Correal and Horton scored eight points for the Pride, and Correal grabbed 10 rebounds.
The Pride held a 14-12 lead after one quarter, but the Cavaliers outscored Salesian 16-5 in the second and Moore picked up her third personal foul.
But she had only one more foul the rest of the game, which occurred with 1:51 to play in the fourth quarter.