Playing before a national ESPNU audience, Johnson and Latson were brilliant, combing for all but 13 of their team's points, lifting the second-ranked Lions into Saturday's 10 a.m. EST championship game against No. 9 Paul VI (Chantilly, Va.)
, which stunned No. 1 Lake Highland Prep (Orlando, Fla.)
52-49 in overtime, ending the Highlanders' 35-game win streak.
Johnson, a 5-foot-10 South Carolina commit, had 25 points, 10 rebounds, nine assists and seven steals, while 5-9 junior Latson scored a game-high 26 points to go along with five rebounds, four assists and four steals as the Lions improved to 21-0.
"They did what they've been doing all season," Westlake coach Hilda Hankerson told ESPNU after the game. "They're good leaders and friends on and off the court. That chemistry between them is something you just can't coach. We're just so excited to have one more game."
All four teams in the event entered unbeaten, reigning state champions and ranked among the top 11 teams in the
country. The two games didn't disappoint, each coming down to the wire.
Fremont (26-1), finally utilizing its height advantage, closed to within 53-50 on two free throws by 6-5 sophomore Maggie Mendelson
(23 points, six rebounds) with 3:02 left.
In the next minute, Johnson and Latson combined for three steals and three breakaway layups. A short jumper by Misia McKinney
made it 62-50 and just like that, this semifinal was over. Westlake, with superior quickness, forced 20 turnovers and turned them into 22 points. Latson and Johnson each played the entire 32 points and combined for only seven turnovers.
"Those two are definitely special in the open court," Hankerson said.
, a 6-4 BYU commit, added 13 points and a game-high 11 rebounds for No. 11 Fremont, which was actually outrebounded 34-30.
Paul VI 52, Lake Highland Prep 49
It had been almost two months since the 14-time defending Virginia state champions had played a game — Feb. 9 — and with 21 turnovers and a 12 of 26 performance at the line, there were definitely signs of rust.
But the Panthers (11-0) made up for it with defense, forcing 28 turnovers and using balanced scoring, led by Jaelyn Talley
(17 points), Duke signee Lee Volker
(13 points, six rebounds, four steals) and Bella Perkins
(10 points, five steals, four assists).
Alyssa Costigan scored all nine of her points in the first two minutes of the fourth quarter, leading a 10-2 run and giving the Panthers a 46-41 lead. Down 47-42 with 1:35 to go, Eleecia Carter
(team-high 14 points) forced overtime for Lake Highland with a mid-range jumper than a 3-pointer.
In overtime a 3-pointer by Volker gave her team the lead for good. Paul VI completely locked down on the defensive end, not allowing a bucket in overtime, just two free throws by Alabama signee Kayla Blackshear
(10 points, 12 rebounds).
Louisville commit Nyla Harris
added 11 points and 10 rebounds, and Central Florida-bound Stefanie Ingram
contributed nine points, six rebounds, five assists and four steals for the Highlanders, who hadn't lost since Dec. 28, 2019 — a 56-55 contest to Montverde Academy (Montverde, Fla.).
In addition to the turnovers, cold shooting did in the nation's No. 1-ranked team. The Highlanders made just 16 of 52 from the field (31 percent), including 4 of 22 on 3-pointers (18.2 percent).
GEICO Nationals schedule
Saturday, April 3
Game on ESPN2
10 a.m. (ET) — Paul VI vs. Westlake