The Salesian girls basketball team’s storybook season ended Saturday with a 70-52 loss to Southern California powerhouse Long Beach Poly in the CIF Open Division state championship game.
The Pride (30-7) were the first team in Salesian High School’s history to make it to the championship game for the state’s highest division. While they fought back from an early deficit and even snagged the lead in the third quarter, Long Beach Poly’s star power proved too much.
The Jackrabbits (27-3) won their sixth state championship in nine years with help from eight seniors and star freshman Ayanna Clark, who had 19 points and 15 rebounds.
Salesian trailed 19-9 in the first quarter following stellar shooting from Long Beach Poly. Although the Pride fought back in the second quarter, star guard Mariya Moore fell into foul trouble and Salesian trailed 36-23 at the half.
The Pride wouldn’t go away. Kian McNair and Moore hit clutch buckets to help Salesian score 16 unanswered points and take a 39-36 lead midway through the third quarter. But Long Beach Poly bounced right back and Moore, who finished with a team high 16 points, fouled out in the fourth quarter.
A whopping 57 fouls were called in the game. Salesian reportedly scored more points from behind the line than from the floor.
Moore, bound for Louisville next year, also had 10 rebounds for the Pride. McNair had 11 points and three assists; Mariya’s sister Minyon Moore added 10 points, Zoe Correal and Deja Stallworth chipped in six apiece and Alana Horton two.