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Mia Loyd had spent a year battling back from an injury, so she knew what Mariah Adanene was going through. Adanene needed support and she was going to be one to give it.
Loyd, DeLaSalle's physical senior power forward, missed the Islanders' run to the 2011 Class 3A championship because of a torn anterior cruciate ligament in her right knee. She sat on the bench, watching instead of playing, a peripheral part of a memorable season.
"That was probably the hardest part," Loyd said. "I wanted to be out there on the court so bad."
Fast forward to a typical frenetic DeLaSalle practice in January. Adanene went full speed into a gym wall, fracturing her skull. Her senior season and basketball career was in jeopardy.
"Somehow, I didn't get a concussion, but I wasn't supposed to be able to play again this season," Adanene said. "My whole goal was just to try to get back to the team."
Adanene healed quicker than expected, returning to the lineup in time for the Islanders' victory over Park Center in the Section 3 championship game. Loyd said her return was nearly as gratifying for her as it was for Adanene.
"When I was out, Mariah came to me and said 'Don't worry, we're going to repeat next year,' " Loyd said. "She supported me when I was out. So I wanted to make sure I was there for her when she was out. It was so great to have her back."
Together, Loyd and Adanene provided the inside play that DeLaSalle needed win its second consecutive 3A title, beating Richfield 65-45 in the championship game Saturday night at Target Center. In three tournament games, Loyd scored 32 points and grabbed 32 rebounds, while Adanene had 34 points and 21 rebounds. Both were named to the Class 3A all-tournament team.
Honors aside, both players said they we just thrilled to get the opportunity to play in a championship game.
"This is so special, just being there," Loyd said. "There were times when I was going up for a rebound and I was thinking that I couldn't believe how high I got. I was thinking, 'Was that really me?' "
Unlike Loyd, Adanene did not miss either of the Islanders' championships, but she admitted that the current championship carries a little more weight.
"This one is probably means lot more," Adanene said. "God blessed me. I'm a fast healer and I have great, supportive teammates. I'm so thankful for all of this."