Handpicking a field to decide a national championship always draws debate. But the selection of the 2021 GEICO Girls High School Nationals left little or no room for argument as the four ranked teams are 75-0.
The two-day event, in conjunction with the 10-team boys GEICO Nationals, begins Friday at Suncoast Credit Union Arena in Ft. Myers, Fla. and features four of the top 11 teams in the MaxPreps Top 25, including No. 1 Lake Highland Prep (Orlando, Fla.)
and second-ranked Westlake (Atlanta)
Ninth-ranked Paul VI (Chantilly, Va.)
and Utah 6A champion Fremont (Plain City)
, No. 11 in the country, round out the field, considered the best in the history of the year-end showcase. All four teams average better than 67 points per game, all allow less than 44, and each have won by average margins of more than 30 per contest.
All games will be nationally televised and all should be fiercely contested. Friday's semifinals pit Lake Highland Prep against
Paul VI at 10:30 a.m. (ET), followed by Fremont and Westlake. The
winners meet Saturday at 10.
"Simply put, the winner of the Saturday title game will assuredly be crowned the best team in the nation," MaxPreps girls basketball editor Clay Kallam wrote.
Here's a thumbnail view of each team, its top players and key statistics.
Lake Highland Prep (19-0)
Points per game: 67.4 | Points allowed: 33.2
Last played: Feb. 27, 84-30 win over Lincoln Park Academy (Fort Pierce) for Florida 4A state title
Seven girls average between 7.4 and 12.1 (sophomore Eleecia Carter
) ... Team shoots 47 percent from field, 39 percent on 3-pointers (140 of 360) ... Of 504 baskets, 270 assisted to go with 216 steals.
Points per game: 73.1 | Points allowed: 35.7
Last played: March 12, 64-46 win over Carrollton for Georgia AAAAAA state crown
Key stats/facts: Latson averages team best 23.2 points per game, Johnson 15.1 points, 5.8 assists and 3.7 steals ... Team shoots 52 percent from field and made 60-of-206 attempts on 3s (29 percent) ... Of 568 baskets, 291 assisted with 260 steals.
Paul VI (10-0)
Points per game: 75.1 | Points allowed: 44.2
Last played: Feb. 9, 68-66 win over Washington D.C. power St. John's
Key stats/facts: Scored 110 points in second game of the year ... Pieced together schedule, including some 40-minute games to make up for shortened season ... Volker averages 16.2 points, 5.1 rebounds, 2.8 assists .... Perkins leading scorer at 16.8 per game.
Points per game: 70.0 | Points allowed: 31.7
Last played: March 6, 63-43 win over Herriman for Utah 6A title
Key stats/facts: Six players at least 6-feet tall, including 6-4 senior Calvert (17.3 ppg), 6-5 sophomore Mandelson (14.3 ppg, 8.9 rebounds per game) and 6-3 junior Gardiner (13.5 ppg), likely be out with a knee injury ... Team shoots 49 percent from the field, including 34 percent on 3-pointers (157 of 466) ... Of 692 baskets, 474 assisted with 344 steals.
GEICO Girls Nationals schedule
Friday, April 2Games on ESPNU, All times ET
10:30 a.m. — Lake Highland Prep (Orlando, Fla.) vs. Paul VI (Chantilly, Va.)
12:30 p.m. — Fremont (Plain City, Utah) vs. Westlake (Atlanta)
Saturday, April 3
Game on ESPN2
10 a.m. — Championship