For the Royal High girls’ basketball team, the day ended a lot happier than it started.
Earlier Thursday, most of the players attended an emotional memorial service for Dave Marshall Jr., a longtime coach at the school who died Monday of cancer.
Later, they defeated Marmonte League rival Westlake, 69-64, to claim the championship of the Thousand Oaks tournament, a title they dedicated to Marshall.
Amid the high-fives and back slaps, Marshall, a former boys’ basketball and tennis coach, was still on their minds.
“We loved him,” said senior forward Kellie Gesell, who scored 17 points.
“He was a great guy.”
Teammate Kristen Galbreath, the tournament’s most valuable player, scored 22 points, 10 in the fourth quarter, when the Highlanders (9-3) came from behind to win for third consecutive night.
Leticia Saldain added 15 points.
“Every game has been exciting,” said Coach Mike Kohl, whose team rallied to defeat Camarillo on Tuesday and No. 8 Crescenta Valley on Wednesday.
“These kids never give up.”
Lottie Kanama and Tawny Thorp each scored 17 points and Sammonia Ware had 13 points for Westlake (7-4).
In other tournament games:
Camarillo 58, Crescenta Valley 50--Lauren Ferreira scored 17 points and Gillian Lillich added 14 for the Scorpions (9-5) in the third-place game.
Sinnamonn Garrett of Crescenta Valley (9-5) scored 18 points.
Taft 52, El Camino Real 51--Oreeille Revish’s baseline jumper at the buzzer gave the Toreadors the consolation championship.
El Camino Real (6-5) led its West Valley League rival, 29-14, at halftime, but Denisha McCoy of Taft (8-2) scored all 13 of her points in the second half to spark the rally.
Lisa Hawkins scored 13 points, all on free throws, and Revish added 12 points.
Karen Shun scored 17 points and Christina Aguinaga had 13 for the Conquistadores.
Rio Mesa 45, Thousand Oaks 41--Monique Barretto scored 14 points for the Spartans (4-7), who trailed, 31-30, after three quarters of the fifth-place game.
Courtney Vasquez had 17 points for Thousand Oaks (5-9).
Saugus 77, Santa Monica 60--Freshman forward Julia Bradley had 27 points, 10 rebounds and three blocked shots for the Centurions (5-7), who scored 46 points in the second half of a consolation game.
Hueneme 56, Merced 33--Tina Seui scored 17 points and Christina Harmeson added 16 for the Vikings (3-8) in a consolation victory.