The St. Mary’s girls basketball team wrapped up its 11th straight Sac-Joaquin Section championship over the past weekend. It was also Aquira DeCosta’s fourth section title with the Rams, but it doesn’t sound like she wants her senior send-off to end there.
DeCosta, the Baylor commit, McDonald’s All-American and finalist for national player of the year, had 22 points, five blocks and 14 rebounds in Saturday’s title game, which came after Acosta put up a line of 30 points, 13 rebounds and six blocks in the semifinal round.
“The last three or four games, she’s been ridiculous,” said St. Mary’s coach Tom Gonsalves. “She’s played at such a high level.”
DeCosta, who credits her father - a former college basketball player himself - for introducing her to the game, has spearheaded the Rams’ senior trio along with Neenah Young and Ariel Johnson on the way to a 26-2 overall record.
The numbers have certainly been there, too, but the 6-foot-2 star said she’s been focused on winning more than anything.
“Every game, I’m trying to come out with the win,” DeCosta said. “No matter what it takes for me to do that.”
Starting Friday, DeCosta and the Rams will find themselves exactly where they planned on being since this season’s start; in the CIF State open division, with a shot at a state title.
No. 2 St. Mary’s will host No. 7 Cardinal Newman at 7 p.m., and DeCosta said every day’s worth of practice this week is aimed at preparing the Rams for their Santa Rosa opponents.
“We’re just trying to get better at what we do,” De Costa said. “Hopefully we’ll do everything we can to get the win.”
Gonsalves praised DeCosta not only for her athleticism and basketball IQ, but for her knack for stepping things up when needed. He’s said before that he believes she’s the best player in the country, and part of that lies in her ability to take her game to another level.
On Friday, Gonsalves said he’s hoping for more of the same from DeCosta.
“We’re looking for her to dominate,” Gonsalves said. “If she does that, we’re in good shape.”