SAN JOSE -- Kelli Hayes ended her Archbishop Mitty career on the big stage of a state championship game, an appropriate ending for a player whose statistics improved each of the four seasons she was with the team.

Hayes averaged 18.0 points, 8.0 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 2.8 steals per game this season, career-best numbers in all four categories, while leading a squad that got hot as the calendar turned to March.

For this, the UCLA-bound guard was a clear choice for Mercury News player of the year, an honor she also received the previous two seasons.

Hayes played in 129 games for Mitty and finished with 1,860 points, an average of 14.4 per game. She won a state championship as a sophomore, a Central Coast Section Open Division title as a junior and a Northern California championship as a senior.

"She's been an absolute pleasure and joy to coach," Mitty coach Sue Phillips said. "I look forward to following her successes at UCLA."

As Phillips sees it, Hayes brought more than statistics and victories to her program. "It certainly can't be summarized in a sentence," Phillips said of Hayes' contributions. "She brings a level of leadership, a passion for the game, a sense of humor, dedication. I can count on one hand, between high school and club, the number of practices she's missed. She's just a real durable, reliable kid."

Hayes credits her teammates and coaches for shaping her into the player she has become.

"My freshman year going into Mitty, being the only freshman on varsity, there was a lot that I had to live up to," Hayes said. "The standards at Mitty are so high. That's why I chose to go to Mitty. I was taken under the wing of all the upper classmen. They helped support me."

Along the way, Hayes developed into a leader and, as she put it, became mentally tougher.

"Being coached by coach Phillips, she is one of the best coaches across the nation," Hayes said. "She can be my biggest fan or my biggest critic. I have learned to play with mistakes, play with many fouls. If I am not having a good game, that never stops me from playing as hard as I can."

Now, Hayes will take what she learned to UCLA, where she aims to have similar success.

"I see myself making an impact as a freshman, earning my way up," Hayes said. "Learning a new system is going to be hard, but I have done it before."

All-Mercury News basketball Girls
FIRST TEAM
Joeseta Fatuesi, Wilcox
Position: Center
Year: Senior
Utah-bound center and SCVAL De Anza player of the year averaged 16.1 points and 11.97 rebounds per game as Wilcox won a league title and made the CCS Open playoffs.
Kelli Hayes,
Archbishop Mitty
Position: Guard
Year: Senior
Three-time Mercury News player of the year led Mitty to the Division II state championship game while averaging 18 points, eight rebounds and three assists per game.
Marissa Hing,
Pinewood
Position: Guard
Year: Junior
MVP of the West Bay Athletic League Foothill Division averaged a team-best 12.5 points and 3.5 assists per game while helping Pinewood win the Division V state title.
Quinci Mann,
St. Ignatius
Position: Guard
Year: Senior
Lehigh signee and first-team All-West Catholic Athletic League selection averaged just under 10 points a game, a team-high, as the Wildcats won the CCS Open championship.
GeAnna Summers-Luaulu, SHC
Position: Guard
Year: Senior
West Catholic Athletic League co-MVP led Sacred Heart Cathedral to a share of the WCAL season title and to the WCAL tournament title before a knee injury sidelined her.

SECOND TEAM
Sara Dyslin, Lynbrook, center, senior
Destiny Graham, Eastside Prep, center, junior
Josie Little,
St. Ignatius, center, junior
Savannah Scott, Westmont, guard, senior
Anisah Smith,
Carlmont, guard, senior

THIRD TEAM
Charmaine Bradford, Eastside Prep, guard, senior
A'shanti Coleman,
Sacred Heart Cathedral, forward, junior
Yazmeen Goo,
Westmoor, guard, junior
D'Airrien Jackson, Wilcox, forward, junior
Paige Song, Lynbrook, forward, senior

COACH OF THE YEAR Doc Scheppler,
Pinewood

Girls honorable mention
Guard: Marinel Alcantara, Westmoor; Jahnay Anderson, Mitty; Lindsey Eto, South San Francisco; Vanessa Gonzalez, Sobrato; Emma Heath, Menlo-Atherton; Meghan Holland, Sacred Heart Prep; Jayme Hughes, Mountain View; Akilah Jennings, Presentation; Jessica Mitz, Valley Christian; Emily Nepomuceno, Hillsdale; Joyann Pabelonio, Silver Creek; Annanya Raghavan, Evergreen Valley; Denise Santos, Independence; Venus Tran, Piedmont Hills; Paige Vermeer, Castilleja; Erika Washer, Westmont; Zoe Zwerling, Gunn.
Forward: Leeana Bade, Pinewood; Brianna Deckman, Capuchino; Chloe Eackles, Pinewood; Melissa Fletcher, Leland; Tyiteyana Jefferson, Piedmont Hills; Lauren Johnson, St. Francis; Katie Lamson, Los Gatos; Kiarra Lynch, Silver Creek; Dharini Ramaswamy, Saratoga; Regina Sankey, Branham; Alexus Simon, Eastside Prep; Taylor Todd, Mitty; Heidi Torres, Lick.
Center: Julia Gibbs, Mills; Maeve Kavanagh, Presentation; Sydney Raggio, St. Ignatius.