The race for the MaxPreps National Championship is wide open as the high school girls basketball season winds down.
The sprint to the finish was made a lot more interesting when Etiwanda
upended Sierra Canyon (Chatsworth)
in California's Open Division regional final. The Trailblazers held the No. 1 ranking for the majority of the season and were two wins away from state and national titles.
But head coach Stan Delus' Eagles beat Sierra Canyon 55-54 before capping their season with a thrilling 69-67 win over No. 8 Archbishop Mitty (San Jose)
in the state final on a last-second putback by Jada Sanders
Etiwanda moves two spot to No. 3 while the Trailblazers drop to No. 4. Sierra Canyon played a tough national schedule that includes wins over state champions in Idaho, Louisiana, Idaho and Utah. However, Etiwanda earned its spot with the run through La Jolla Country Day, Sierra Canyon and Mitty to the CIF Open Division title in the span of seven days.
Sierra Canyon's loss opens a path for a handful of teams to be named MaxPreps National Champion.
New No. 1 Montverde Academy (Montverde, Fla.)
and No. 2 Long Island Lutheran (Brookville, N.Y.)
are scheduled to play in the GEICO Nationals at the end of the month. The Eagles and Crusaders could meet for the title.
No. 5 Morris Catholic (Denville, N.J.)
, which holds a Jan. 16 win over Etiwanda, is one of the likely participants in the second annual State Champions Invitational. That field is set to be announced Wednesday.
MaxPreps Top 25 girls basketball rankings1. Montverde Academy (Montverde, Fla.)Record:
24-1 | Last week:
The Eagles are the No. 1 seed in the GEICO Nationals field, which tips off March 31 in Fort Myers, Fla. Opening round meeting is against Westtown (West Chester, Pa.).2. Long Island Lutheran (Brookville, N.Y.)Record:
20-2 | Last week:
Playing in GEICO Nationals along with N.Y. federation tournament on March 25. Potential GEICO final matchup with Montverde Academy looms.3. Etiwanda (Calif.)
32-3 | Last week:
Ran the gauntlet with wins over three California heavyweights to win the CIF Open Division title, the school's first state crown. Etiwanda avenged losses to La Jolla Country Day (La Jolla) and Sierra Canyon before taking down Mitty in the final. Kennedy Smith
was lights out in the title game with a game-high 30.
4. Sierra Canyon (Chatsworth, Calif.)
31-1 | Last week:
The loss to Etiwanda ended the brilliant prep career of Juju Watkins
. A strong overall resume keeps the Trailblazers in the top five.
6. Incarnate Word Academy (St. Louis)
30-0 | Last week:
Head coach Dan Rolfes' group is two wins from the Class 6 title, taking on Raytown on Friday. A title would give the Red Knights 100 straight victories.7. Sidwell Friends (Washington, D.C.)
28-3 | Last week:
DCSAA champions. Expected to participate in the State Champions Invitational.8. Archbishop Mitty (San Jose, Calif.)
28-3 | Last week:
Heart-breaking loss for the Monarchs, who were looking for their seventh CIF title but first Open Division title after losing in their first two appearances. Junior Morgan Cheli
and freshman Mckenna Woliczko
were sensational in the loss with 24 and 18 points, respectively.
9. St. John-Vianney (Holmdel, N.J.)
32-1 | Last week:
Season complete. Non-Public A runner-up.
10. Hoover (Ala.)
35-1 | Last week:
Season complete. Class 7A state champions.11. The Webb School (Bell Buckle, Tenn.)
32-4 | Last week:
Season complete. Division II Class A state champions.12. La Jolla Country Day (La Jolla, Calif.)
29-4 | Last week:
Season complete.13. Hazel Green (Ala.)
36-1 | Last week:
Season complete. Class 6A state champions.14. Paul VI (Haddonfield, N.J.)
21-3 | Last week:
15. Sacred Heart (Louisville, Ky.)
36-3 | Last week:
The Valkyries shot 71 percent (22 of 27) from the field in their 68-53 state title win over McCracken County on Sunday. ZaKiyah Johnson
led the way with 30 while Reagan Bender
added 19 and Angelina Pelayo
scored 17 on 7 of 7 shooting.16. Lone Peak (Highland, Utah)
23-3 | Last week:
Class 6A champions. Expected to participate in the State Champions Invitational.17. Dr. Phillips (Orlando, Fla.)
30-1 | Last week:
Class 7A champions. Expected to participate in the State Champions Invitational.18. Desert Vista (Phoenix)
28-3 | Last week:
Open Division champions. Expected to participate in the State Champions Invitational.19. Conway (Ark.)
27-5 | Last week:
Stanford commit Chloe Clardy
earned her first state title, scoring a team-high 20 points as the Wampus Cats beat defending champion North Little Rock 62-53 in the 6A final. 20. Centennial (Las Vegas)
24-1 | Last week:
Class 5A champions. Expected to participate in the State Champions Invitational.21. Clovis West (Fresno, Calif.)
30-2 | Last week:
Season complete.22. Edmond North (Edmond, Okla.)
27-0 | Last week:
The Huskies erased a 13-point deficit – they trailed 16-6 after one quarter – to win the 6A title 65-58 over Norman. Elle Papahronis
led the way with 30 points and 12 rebounds while Laci Steele
added 19.23. Princeton (Cincinnati)
26-2 | Last week:
Season complete. Division I state champions.24. Clark (San Antonio, Texas)
34-3 | Last week:
Season complete. Class 6A state champions.25. McDonogh (Owings Mills, Md.)
23-2 | Last week:
The Eagles earned a GEICO Nationals berth and draw No. 2 Long Island Lutheran in the opening round.
On the bubble: Clackamas (Ore.)
, 24-5; Pleasant Valley (Iowa)
, 27-0; Bedford North Lawrence (Bedford, Ind.)
, 27-3; Bradley Central (Cleveland, Tenn.)
, 34-1; Notre Dame Academy (Green Bay, Wis.)