Salesian High School girls basketball player Mariya Moore was slow getting out of the locker room at Las Positas College on Monday night. Carondelet's Natalie Romeo and Gabriella Grupalo got tired of waiting and went on in, enveloping Moore in a warm double-bear hug.

Minutes earlier, Romeo and Grupalo, and their Cougars teammates, had finished off a hard-fought 81-70 win over Moore's Pride. Romeo had a terrific game, scoring 23 points and grabbing five rebounds while handing out five assists. Moore topped that, recording a triple-double with 14 points, 12

assists and 10 rebounds.

Officially, it was "just" the third-place game in the Platinum Division of the West Coast Jamboree. It was also a meeting of two of the best teams in the Bay Area -- as well as a chance for the old friends to catch up.

"Natalie's my best friend," Moore said after the reunion. "We started playing basketball together in fourth grade. It's kind of weird because this is the first time we've played against each other in high school."

Moore added that, "We were talking to each other on the court."

Trash talking?

"No," Moore said with a laugh.

The game was close throughout, with Carondelet (7-2) making eight of its first 11 field goal attempts before going stone cold for most of the rest of the game. Makenzie Cast, who led the Cougars with 24 points, said that when the shots stopped falling, the team tried to emphasize other facets of the game.

"If not defense, then just driving," Cast said. "Take the ball to the hole. If you're not shooting well, then just keep shooting."


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Carondelet finished 15 of 45 from 2-point range and 11 of 19 from 3-point range.

Salesian (6-4) trailed 44-36 at halftime, then came out very strong, going on a 14-3 run to start the third quarter to take a 50-47 lead. Defense was the key as the Cougars missed nine of their first 10 shots in the quarter and committed four turnovers during the run.

However, with one minute, 42 seconds to go in the period, Carondelet's Christina Chenault was fouled on a drive to break the cold spell. That sparked an 11-0 run to close the quarter and put the Cougars back on top.

"The game is about runs," Carondelet coach Margaret Gartner said. "As long as we play hard, (an opponent's) lead is not safe."

Said Moore, "It's really just focus. We should have focused through the whole quarter. We should have known that they were going on runs, too. That just comes with maturity. As the season goes on, we'll probably get better at that."

Cast and Romeo were named to the all-tournament team. Moore was joined on the all-tournament team by teammate Zoe Correal, who scored 21 points and collected 15 rebounds.

The Pride was hurt by sloppy ball-handling. Salesian committed 28 turnovers, two days after committing the same number in a loss to St. Mary's-Stockton. That negated solid full-court pressure by the Pride, which forced 21 Cougar turnovers. On multiple sequences, Salesian would force a turnover and immediately give the ball back.

Platinum Division Third place Carondelet 81, Salesian 70

Carondelet (7-2)

Romeo 8 2-4 23, Grupalo 3 3-37 10, Rathbun 1 1-2 4, Cast 8 4-5 24, Chenault 2 4-7 8, Boucher 1 2-2 4, Savio 3 2-2 8. Totals 26 18-29 81.

Salesian (6-4)

McNair 4 0-0 9, Mar. Moore 4 4-4 14, Horton 2 0-0 4, Correal 10 1-2 21, Crowder 6 1-2 13, Min. Moore 1 4-4 6, Stallworth 1 1-2 3. Totals 28 11-14 70.

Carondelet          25          19          15          22--          81

Salesian          18          18          15          19--          70

3-point goals: Romeo 5, Rathbun, Grupalo, Mar. Moore 2, McNair. Highlights: C -- Chenault 7 rebounds; Savio 7 rebounds; Romeo 5 assists, all-tournament; Cast all-tournament. S -- Ma. Moore 10 rebounds, 12 assists, all-tournament; Correal 15 rebounds, all-tournament; Stallworth 7 rebounds.