LORETTO - Friday night's 61-36 win over huge underdog Portage might have been the most anticlimactic of Bishop Guilfoyle Catholic High School's 23 District 6 championships.
Just don't tell the Lady Marauders that.
"Even though it wasn't really a close game," BG senior forward Elyssa Ehredt said, "it still feels just as amazing as if we won by one point or at the buzzer."
The numbers don't lie.
For Ehredt and Halee Adams, it made them a perfect 4-for-4 as starters in district championships, as it did for Devin Stessney and Kayla Bates, reserves in 2010. It also ran Guilfoyle's streak of consecutive D6 titles to seven, a number only surpassed by the Altoona girls in Class AAAA. That alone should place it among the biggest wins in BG's illustrious girls basketball history.
And, oh yes, it was Mark Moschella's 500th win, too.
Moschella was his usual magnanimous self.
"To get 500 in a district championship and to be maybe the first program in the history of Blair County to hit 500 with one team, that shows a lot of loyalty to the school to keep me for 21 years," Moschella said.
Of course, with Moschella's track record, Guilfoyle would have been more foolish than disloyal to dismiss him.
"He means so much to all of us," Adams said of Moschella. "We didn't even know [it was coming up] until he told us how happy he was to get 499. We were talking in school and saying, 'We've got to get this, not only for us, but to get him his 500th win.'"
The reason for Moschella's success seems to be two-pronged.
On the one hand, he and his assistants are sticklers for details.
"He really goes over step-by-step what we need to do and keeps us focused," Ehredt said.
At the same time, Moschella is a master of handling personalities. Adams said he doesn't talk down to the players.
"He treats us like adults. That's how we like to respond to him," Adams said. "He's so likeable, and we have so much respect for him. He's amazing."
Adams said the only pressure she felt while chasing history on Friday came from within, and not from Moschella. Moschella, in fact, said basketball takes a backseat to several things in his coaching scheme.
"The first thing I tell the girls is if we keep our priorities where they need to be, then we'll be a good basketball team," Moschella said.
In order, Moschella's list is God, family and academics. Basketball is fourth, just ahead of making mature social decisions.
By deemphasizing basketball, Moschella keeps the team looser and thinks he makes the sport more fun.
Moschella had his own, more somber motivation this season. His close personal friend and longtime assistant Bill Adams was stricken by a stroke almost a year ago. Adams has since moved to Reading.
Moschella and Bill Adams were constant companions to the point some of the Lady Marauders thought of them as almost one and the same.
"They have the same ideas about everything," Ehredt said. "Coach Mo was the voice, and it seemed like Coach Adams was the mind behind it."
"I know how much this means to him," Moschella said. "I'm looking forward to driving to Reading. The ball's going to say '499' because of a guy named Abe Lemon, who ended with 599. Bill and I always thought that was cool."
And for Moschella, what if he ended at 499?
"That would be fine with me," Moschella said. "I don't want it to be an individual thing about my wins."
OK, then how about a group thing about those wins?
"This is just like a family," Halee Adams said, "coming together to do our thing."
Cmor can be reached at 946-7440 or firstname.lastname@example.org.