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Harvard-Westlake girls basketball wins CIF State crown fending off injury-laden season

Coach Melissa Hearlihy notches career win No. 839 with a CIF State title, her second state championship in three appearances

SACRAMENTO - The injury list for the Harvard-Westlake's girls basketball team was long this season.

Standout sophomore Bella Spencer suffered a season-ending knee injury in the fall and the team had to start the campaign without senior point guard Jamie Yue.

"She's the head of the snake for this team," coach Melissa Hearlihy said of Yue.

The Wolverines started the season 4-13 before eventually getting Yue back in the lineup. However, it didn't stop the injuries from coming.

"It felt like we never had our full team until the last week of the season," Hearlihy said.

Angelina Habis and Madison McDonald dealt with a concussions that sidelined them, and center Valentina Guerrero broke her nose, which kept her out for a month.

The Wolverines played their final two games of the season at full strength, and both victories earned them hardware, including a CIF State Division II title at the Golden 1 Center in Sacramento Saturday afternoon with a 60-45 win over Colfax.

"This means everything to me," said Yue, the lone senior starter and team captain.

Freshman Angelina Habis scored a game-high 19 points with seven rebounds, junior Deana Thompson tallied 18 points, six rebound and four assists, and sophomore Valentina Guerrero had 14 points and 13 rebounds.

"We've had a lot of things going on all year long with injuries," Hearlihy said. "But we finally got everybody back (on Tuesday) and what I love is that I've watched them the last three days become a unit, a family and care about each other."

The victory marked the program's second CIF State title since winning in 2010. Hearlihy was at the helm then too. She notched career win No. 839 and sits second behind Mater Dei's Kevin Kiernan, who just announced his retirement this season at 900 wins.

"I'm going to keep coaching as long as I can. I'll tell you this, that record is nowhere near as important to me as it is to my son," Hearlihy said laughing.

Saturday was Hearlihy's third appearance in the CIF State final game. She reached the state final in 1998 when she was the head coach at Alemany.

After starting the season 4-13, Harvard-Westlake dances away with a CIF State crown at 19-18 having won 15 of its last 20 games.