S.F. Chronicle's Girls Player of the Year: Salesian's Mariya Moore
Longtime womens basketball expert and coach Clay Kallam tried to pinpoint what makes Salesians Mariya Moore so special, and where exactly she fits on the ladder of Bay Area girls basketball standouts.
Shes just a winner, he said. She makes winning plays at the end of games. Some girls can make them in the second quarter when theyre up by 20. But one way or another, Mariya Moore will find a way to beat you in the end.
Moore, who averaged 17.8 points, 8.6 rebounds, 7.2 assists and 3.6 steals per game, can add another win to her list, having been named The Chronicles All-Metro Player of the Year for a second consecutive season.
But her last game didnt follow the script.
Moore scored 16 points and grabbed 10 rebounds, but fouled out with 5:47 to play in a 70-52 Open Division state championship loss to Long Beach Poly.
Along with her teammates in a somber media room at Sleep Train Arena in Sacramento, the 5-foot-11 senior guard/forward, who is headed to the University of Louisville next season, tried to gather her thoughts after playing her final high school game.
She had plenty to think about. It was the end of a long 37-game season. A 140-game career that featured 114 wins. And three Northern California championships.
Finally, when no one else had anything to say, Moore spoke up.
Each year has been a journey, she said. And even though this was a tough loss and its hard to swallow right now, just to make it to the last game of the year makes it a great season ... a great career.
As Kallam said, Moore knows how to finish.
She had 13 triple-doubles and two quadruple doubles in her career.
The McDonalds All-American was best when it counted. In five games against league rival St. Marys-Berkeley - a team with two McDonalds All-Americans of its own in Mikayla Cowling and Gabby Green - Moore averaged 24.8 points, 11.4 rebounds, 4.4 assists and 4.4 steals. Salesian won four of the five.
Whatever Mariya Moore needs to do, she gets done, Salesian coach Steve Pezzola said. Shes the gold standard of productivity and tenacity.
The Bay Area standards in girls basketball have been, among others, twins Courtney and Ashley Paris (Piedmont), Jayne Appel (Carondelet-Concord), Renee Robinson (Sacred Heart Prep-Atherton) and Danielle Robinson (Mitty).
All went on to have highly successful college careers - as they were projected to do.
With Moore 5-11 and neither lightning quick nor a great jumper, the expectations for her - to say nothing of what position shell play - appear to be in question.
Not so, according Kallam, the MaxPreps.com national basketball editor who has spoken to Louisville coach Jeff Walz about Moore.
He doesnt care if she doesnt have a true position, Kallam said. He cant get her there fast enough.
And as for her position in the ranks of high school players?
As good as anyone weve seen, Kallam said. Before she arrived at Salesian, it was nothing special in terms of girls basketball. Yes, theyve put some nice pieces around her, but she has always been the magnet. Shes just a great all-around player who loves to play. Plus shes just incredibly strong.
Asked what she loves most about the game, Moore was, like her play, strong and decisive: The team aspect. I just love going hard and fighting for each other.
Right to the end.
Stats: 17.8 points, 8.6 rebounds, 7.2 assists, 3.6 steals per game.
College: University of Louisville
Mitch Stephens is a national columnist for MaxPreps.com.