Mount Hebron's Erica McCauley didn't have time for the pain.
Although McCauley, a 5-foot-1 sophomore point guard, had been hampered with pain in her lower back this week, she scored nine points yesterday before Parkside even had taken a shot.
She finished with 18 points to lead second-ranked and top-seeded Mount Hebron (23-3) to a 60-52 victory over second-seeded Parkside in the girls Class 2A state championship game at Catonsville Community College.
Mount Hebron coach Dave Greenberg said McCauley, who missed 13 games last season because of her back problem, played cautiously in Friday's semifinal so that she could play in the championship game.
"I can't feel any pain right now -- I'm too happy," McCauley said after the game. "I went to the doctor after [Friday's] game, and I have to go again Monday, but it's worth it. All the pain in the world is worth this."
With the victory, Mount Hebron claimed its second consecutive state title and its fifth in the past six years. Overall, the Vikings have won six state titles, a record they now share with Brooklyn Park for the most championships in girls basketball.
"To tie the record means something," said Greenberg, in his 13th season, "but I think the fact that we have been here five of the last six years is special. It speaks well of what we do as a program and of what the kids are willing to do to fit into the program. It shows that you don't just keep winning unless the system is a good system."
Cescili Drake added 12 points for the Vikings, and Emily Yanero and Andrea Day contributed nine points each. Erica McCauley's sister, Christy, was slowed by a ankle injury and was limited to five points, after she scored 15 in Friday's semifinal victory over Glenelg.
Mount Hebron's pressure defense forced Parkside into turnover its first four possessions and held Parkside without a shot for the first 2 minutes, 36 seconds. Meanwhile, Erica McCauley was 4-for-4 from the field, as the Vikings bolted to a 9-0 lead.
The Vikings went on to make eight of their first 13 shots (62 percent), and nine of 17 (53 percent) in the first quarter, as they built a 22-10 lead.
Parkside (24-2) adjusted to the pressure in the second quarter and manage to stay with the Vikings, who held a 40-27 lead at the half.
The Rams used a 13-0 run in the third quarter to cut the Mount Hebron lead to 43-40 with 2:31 left in the period. Parkside's 6-foot center Kesha Camper (26 points, 12 rebounds) -- who has signed a letter of intent to attend the University of Maryland -- scored seven in the run, and point guard Yumika Church (10 points, 12 assists) six.
But Mount Hebron regrouped and led by at least five throughout the fourth quarter.