Mary Star High girls basketball emphatically finished what they started last season, this time capturing their second straight Santa Fe League championship, defeating host St. Bernard of Playa Del Rey, 63-27 on Friday to seize the crown outright one year after sharing it with two other schools. The win also capped off an unlikely unbeaten regular season at 15-0, putting the Stars in the conversation of teams to beat in the CIF-Southern Section Division 4-AA playoffs.
Pairings will be announced on Sunday.
"This latest accomplishment has made me feel tremendously appreciative for the staff and my teammates," said Mary Star senior guard Isabella Serrano, who scored 14 points. "None of this could have been accomplished with just one person, but with everyone and their passion and desire to want to leave a legacy, letting our program be known."
A spirited effort early on by the Vikings (6-4 overall, 5-1 league) staked them to a 7-4 first quarter lead, but then the Stars (15-0, 6-0) closed the opening frame with an 8-0 run to lead 12-7. However, when St. Bernard closed their deficit down to 15-11 with over six minutes to play in the second quarter, Mary Star looked to sophomore G/F Bella Marconi for a spark, and she provided it by hitting a three-pointer from the right wing.
"It was crucial for someone to make a shot because we needed a boost to start putting our foot on the pedal and keep pushing ourselves to score," Marconi said.
Behind Marconi, and the sensational freshman tandem of guard Andrea Lopez and forward Madison Watts, the Stars went on another furious 14-2 run to go into halftime with a 29-13 advantage, and then they cruised from there.
Watts led the Stars with 15 points and eight rebounds, while Lopez, a skilled catch and shoot player from beyond the three-point line, buried three triples and scored 13. Marconi also provided a boost with seven points off the bench, and versatile senior guard Kaitlyn Oasay scored 6 points, anchoring the Stars' defensive intensity along with Serrano and fellow senior guard Cristina Camacho. Oasay blocked two shots from the perimeter.
This win was the latest in a long line of outstanding performances for Mary Star, who won 12 of their 15 games by at least double digits, with their best victories coming against Palos Verdes, Lawndale and Cantwell Sacred-Heart of Montebello.
"I feel super proud of being able to partake and help this team play with cohesiveness and love for each other," Oasay said.
The work is far from being over, as the Stars and eight-year coach Victor Tuberosi realize, but with the work these Stars have put in already in this pandemic-shortened spring season, it puts the confidence and belief in themselves that nothing is impossible.