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High school girls basketball: No. 2 Westlake, No. 9 Paul VI advance to GEICO Nationals final - HIGHSCORE
High school girls basketball: No. 2 Westlake, No. 9 Paul VI advance to GEICO Nationals final
Fremont (Plain City, Utah) had all the momentum, cutting a 14-point deficit to three with a little over three minutes to go. But in a snap, like they had done all game, Raven Johnson and Ta'Niya Latson took it all away, lifting Westlake (Atlanta, Ga.) to a stirring 64-54 GEICO Nationals semifinal victory Friday at Suncoast Credit Union Arena in Ft. Myers, Fla.

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.

Emma Calvert, 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
High school football rankings: Mater Dei zooms to No. 1 in California HIGHSCORE Top 25 after 49-point opening win - HIGHSCORE
High school football rankings: Mater Dei zooms to No. 1 in California MaxPreps Top 25 after 49-point opening win
This isn't the first time a worthy squad has tried to upend the season-ending Southern California high school football celebration that is Mater Dei vs. St. John Bosco.

Over the last five seasons, as the Monarchs and Braves have ascended to the top of the national football food chain, several talented squads have met the Trinity League juggernauts head on, only to be soundly defeated.

In a COVID-19 shortened season where most California teams are playing four to six games, one of the biggest contests is Friday when second-ranked St. John Bosco takes on No. 3 Servite in what's the California Game of the Week.

Servite, behind dynamic 5-foot-11, 180-pound junior dual threat quarterback Noah Fifita (offers from Arizona and Cal), has outscored two opponents, 113-19.

CALIFORNIA SPRING COMPUTER RANKINGS: Compare to human rankings below

Fifita threw for almost 2,900 yards and 37 touchdowns as a sophomore when the Friars went 7-4. He nearly led Servite to an upset of the eventual national champs, dropping a 27-26 Trinity League thriller.

The Braves are loaded again, though they did lose current Clemson quarterback DJ Uiagalelei to graduation and replaced him with two dynamic young arms in sophomore Pierce Clarkson and junior Katin Houser. Both have looked good in the early going, combining for 492 passing yards and six touchdowns with no interceptions in two wins.

Servite could spoil the season-ending contest between Bosco and Mater Dei, which opened its season last week with a 52-3 throttling of JSerra Catholic behind three touchdown passes from freshman quarterback Elijah Brown in his first varsity game.

There are plenty of other terrific matchups this weekend including No. 11 Oaks Christian at No. 7 Sierra Canyon, No. 8 Alemany at No. 10 Bishop Amat and No. 21 Edison at No. 9 Los Alamitos. In San Diego Section play, No. 23 St. Augustine travels to No. 17 Cathedral Catholic.
Noah Fifita, Servite quarterback
File photo by Jann Hendry
Noah Fifita, Servite quarterback
MaxPreps Top 25 California Football Rankings

Record: 1-0 | Last week: Beat JSerra Catholic, 52-3
Next game: Friday at Orange Lutheran

2. St. John Bosco (Bellflower)
Record: 2-0 | Last week: Beat Santa Margarita, 65-28
Next game: Friday vs. Servite

3. Servite (Anaheim)
Record: 2-0 | Last week: Beat Orange Lutheran, 69-13
Next game: Friday at St. John Bosco

4. Centennial (Corona)
Record: 1-0 | Last week: Beat King, 50-0
Next game: Thursday at Santiago

5. De La Salle (Concord)
Record: 2-0 | Last week: Beat Monte Vista (Danville), 63-27
Next game: Saturday vs. San Ramon Valley (Danville)

6. Mission Viejo
Record: 1-0 | Last week: Beat Oak Hills, 55-6
Next game: Saturday at Upland

7. Sierra Canyon (Chatsworth)
Record: 1-1 | Last week: Beat St. Bernard, 56-0
Next game: Friday vs. Oaks Christian

8. Alemany (Mission Hills)
Record: 1-0 | Last week: Beat Notre Dame (Sherman Oaks), 21-9
Next game: Friday at Bishop Amat

9. Los Alamitos
Record: 2-0 | Last week: Beat Corona del Mar, 52-28
Next game: Friday vs. Edison

10. Bishop Amat (La Puente)

Record: 1-0 | Last week: Beat Cathedral, 21-6
Next game: Friday vs. Bishop Alemany

11. Oaks Christian (Westlake Village)
Record:
2-0 | Last week: Beat Westlake, 30-16
Next game: Friday at Sierra Canyon

12. Long Beach Poly (Long Beach)
Record: 2-0 | Last week: Beat Lakewood, 41-0
Next game: Friday vs. Long Beach Wilson

13. Folsom
Record: 2-0 | Last week: Beat Granite Bay 35-25
Next game: Friday vs. Del Oro

14. Santa Margarita (Rancho Santa Margarita)

Record: 1-1 | Last week: Lost to St. John Bosco 65-28
Next game: Thursday vs. JSerra at Santa Ana Bowl

15. Loyola (Los Angeles)
Record: 0-0 | Last week: idle
Next game: Friday at St. Bernard

16. Serra (San Mateo)
Record: 1-0 | Last week: Beat Valley Christian (San Jose), 33-27
Next game: Saturday vs. Sacred Heart Cathedral

17. Cathedral Catholic (San Diego)

Record: 2-0 | Last week: Beat Steele Canyon, 49-0
Next game: Friday vs. St. Augustine

18. San Clemente

Record: 1-0 | Last week: Beat Capistrano Valley, 34-24
Next game: Friday vs. Aliso Niguel

19. Central (Fresno)
Record: 1-0 | Last week: Beat Clovis 35-31
Next game: Friday vs. Buchanan (Clovis)

20. Grace Brethren (Simi Valley)
Record: 0-0 | Last week: Idle
Next game: April 3 at Calabasas

21. Edison (Huntington Beach)
Record: 2-0 | Last week: Beat Newport Harbor, 47-14
Next game: Friday at Los Alamitos

22. Rancho Verde (Moreno Valley)
Record: 1-0 | Last week: Beat JW North, 41-0
Next game: Saturday at Heritage

23. St. Augustine (San Diego)

Record: 2-0 | Last week: Beat Madison, 24-7
Next game: Friday at Cathedral Catholic

24. Serra (Gardena)
Record: 1-1 | Last week: Beat Chaminade, 12-6 (OT)
Next game: Friday vs. Cathedral at El Camino College

25. Carlsbad

Record: 1-0 | Last week: Beat Torrey Pines, 42-0
Next game: Friday at San Marcos

MaxPreps National Football editor Zack Poff contributed to this report.
Milaysia Fulwiley named 2020-21 HIGHSCORE South Carolina High School Girls Basketball Player of the Year - HIGHSCORE
Milaysia Fulwiley named 2020-21 MaxPreps South Carolina High School Girls Basketball Player of the Year
Each year since 2006, MaxPreps has recognized outstanding performers in high school basketball. America's source for high school sports continues the tradition to close out the 2020-21 season by naming the top player in each state. Selections are based on team success and individual excellence, in addition to local and state accolades.

Milaysia Fulwiley of Keenan (Columbia) is the 2020-21 MaxPreps South Carolina High School Girls Basketball Player of the Year. The 5-foot-7 sophomore led the Raiders to the Class 4A state championship, where she tallied 29 points, seven steals and six assists in a win over Bishop England.

For the season, Fulwiley averaged 25.9 points, 6.9 assists, 5.7 rebounds and 5.2 steals per game. She also shot 42 percent from 3-point distance.

Fulwiley joined the Keenan varsity as a seventh grader and as an eighth grader played a key role on a state championship team. Her all-around talents and precocious ability led to a No. 3 ranking in the Class of 2023 by ESPN Hoopgurlz.

Each state's MaxPreps Player of the Year will be considered for inclusion in the MaxPreps All-America Team.
Girls high school basketball rankings: HIGHSCORE Top 25 showdown set for Wednesday as No. 1 Lake Highland Prep meets No. 14 Montverde Academy - HIGHSCORE
Girls high school basketball rankings: MaxPreps Top 25 showdown set for Wednesday as No. 1 Lake Highland Prep meets No. 14 Montverde Academy
National rankings always include a lot of educated guesswork, as top teams often don't play each other and some have limited local schedules — but this year, obviously, is different. This year, some high school girls basketball teams may not play at all. This year, some states plan to play basketball in the spring. This year, some won't start their season until Feb. 1. This year, some have played their normal schedules.

So how to sort it all out? First, by conceding that this year's rankings will be even more problematic than most, as intersectional games and major events are few and far between. Second, by excluding schools from the rankings that do not begin play until April. Third, by relying more on perceived talent level than on game results — though that said, losses to in-state rivals that in the past could be offset by wins over other nationally-ranked teams will now be more critical when it comes to putting together the MaxPreps Top 25 high school girls basketball rankings.

Of course, no one knows how the season will play out, as state associations and local school districts are making decisions on a daily basis that will affect the teams mentioned below, so schools may appear and disappear from the rankings much more frequently than in previous seasons.
But regardless, here we go...
Maria Mykleburst, Montverde Academy
Photo by Pete Wright
Maria Mykleburst, Montverde Academy
MaxPreps Top 25 Girls High School Basketball Rankings

1. Lake Highland Prep (Orlando, Fla.)
Record:
10-0 | Last week: 1
Uneasy lies the crown. Point guard Sierra Godbolt tore her ACL and unbeaten No. 14 Montverde Academy is tonight's opponent. The Highlanders only managed 36 points against No. 17 New Hope in a three-point win Dec. 22.

2. Bishop McNamara (Forestville, Md.)
Record: 0-0 | Last week: 2
The first of many teams that has yet to play. An abbreviated season for this uber-talented group is expected to begin around Feb. 1.

3. Westlake (Atlanta)
Record: 6-0 | Last week: 7
A big win against a strong McEachern team was good news for Westlake in the early going, but several intersectional games were canceled over the holidays. The Peach State's best will resume play this week, however.

4. Hopkins (Minnetonka, Minn.)
Record:
0-0 | Last week: 4
Despite the graduation of Paige Bueckers, Hopkins still has one of the most talented rosters in the country. The Royals are expected to begin play this week.

Record: 0-0 | Last week: 5
A perennial fixture in the MaxPreps Top 25 should get under way in mid-January.

Record: 10-0 | Last week: NR
The first newcomer, Mount Notre Dame lands in the top 10 thanks to wins over previously-ranked North Central of Indianapolis and another strong Indiana team, Carmel. And unlike most teams this year, Mount Notre Dame also added another intersectional win, this one over Madison Academy of Alabama.

Record: 0-0 | Last week: 8
In the same league as No. 2 Bishop McNamara, St. John's and Azzi Fudd are still on hold. A February start is anticipated.

Record: 2-0 | Last week: 9
Incarnate Word played two games in early December, but has been shut down since then. An in-state schedule should resume Jan. 14.

Record: 0-0 | Last week: 1
New Jersey teams always start the season later than other states, but this year's Jan. 15 beginning actually is earlier than many.

Record: 16-0 | Last week: 18
Texas, as always, rolls on. After playing 42 games last year (losing one), Cypress Creek has played 16 games already this year. Of those 16 wins, the closest was by 12 points.

Record: 2-0 | Last week: NR
Classen SAS jumps into the rankings thanks to a 50-46 win over previous No. 11 DeSoto. Mark Feb. 11 on the calendar, as that's when a game against No. 13 Norman pops up on the schedule.

Record: 2-0 | Last week: 12
Reynoldsburg's ranking will be tested next week, as unbeaten Newark and once-beaten Pickerington Central (the loss was to Newark) are on tap.

Record: 5-0 | Last week: 13
Norman gets back in full swing with two games next week.

Record: 11-0 | Last week: 23
A big win over Compass Prep of Arizona was a major reason for the jump. An even bigger win is possible tonight against No. 1 Lake Highland Prep.

Record: 0-0 | Last week: 15
A Feb. 1 start is anticipated for a new kid on the MaxPreps Top 25 block.

Record: 18-0 | Last week: 16
Hoover handled unbeaten Hewitt-Trussville on Saturday, and with 18 wins already, is off to a very impressive start.

Record: 4-1 | Last week: 14
It's no disgrace to lose to No. 1 so New Hope drops only three spots this week.

Record: 12-1 | Last week: 11
The loss to No. 11 Classen SAS was balanced by a 62-55 win over previous No. 2 Duncanville — but note that the Duncanville-DeSoto rematch Jan. 23 could scramble the rankings again.

Record: 2-0 | Last week: 19
Some teams in Tennessee have played as many as 15 games; Ensworth has reported only two. Still, those two wins are enough to keep Ensworth in the MaxPreps Top 25.

Record: 0-0 | Last week: 20
Like St. John-Vianney, Rutgers Prep has yet to start play.

Record: 0-0 | Last week: 21
Valley Vista will begin an 18-game, in-state season Jan. 19.

Record: 0-0 | Last week: 22
Archbishop Wood is a bit of a mystery as no schedule has been posted — even though Pennsylvania is expected to begin play this week.

Record: 12-1 | Last week: 2
The loss to No. 18 DeSoto dropped the Panthers to No. 23, but the Jan. 23 rematch will be a shot at redemption – and a rise in the rankings.

Record: 0-0 | Last week: 24
Washington will meet this week to decide if the season will begin Feb. 1 or be postponed until spring (as is the case in California, among others). But for now, Chiawana stays at No. 24.

Record: 8-0 | Last week: NR
Fremont jumps into the rankings thanks to a hot start and a loaded roster. Davis, at 5-1, will be a test this Friday.

NOTE: Coaches are encourage to update schedules and results on MaxPreps. For support, contact us via email at [email protected]
High school girls basketball: Lake Highland Prep, Westlake head GEICO Nationals' four-team field - HIGHSCORE
High school girls basketball: Lake Highland Prep, Westlake head GEICO Nationals' four-team field
Four of the top 15 girls basketball teams in the MaxPreps Top 25 have been invited to the 2021 GEICO High School Basketball Nationals to be played April 2-3 at Suncoast Credit Union Arena in Ft. Myers, Fla.

The April 2 semifinal games will be broadcast on ESPNU with action starting at 10:30 a.m. as No. 1 Lake Highland Prep (Orlando, Fla.) battles No. 10 Paul VI (Chantilly, Va.). The second semifinal is scheduled for 12:30 p.m. (ET) featuring No. 15 Fremont (Plain City, Utah) against No. 2 Westlake (Atlanta).

The winners face off  on ESPN2 at 10 a.m. April 3 for the championship.

The games will be played in conjunction with the 10-team boys GEICO Nationals.

Lake Highland (19-0) won the Florida 4A state championship on Feb. 27 with a 84-30 win over Lincoln Park Academy. The Highlanders are a remarkably balanced squad with seven girls averaging between 7.4 and 12.1 points per game. Senior Kayla Blackshear is headed to Alabama.

Second-ranked Westlake (21-0) had a much tougher state finals on Saturday, taking home the Georgia AAAAAA crown with a 64-46 victory over a 30-3 Carrollton team behind 26 points from junior Taniya Latson. Teammates Raven Johnson (South Carolina) and Brianna Turnage (Virginia Tech) are other top-ranked players. Latson averages 23.2 points and Johnson 15.1 points, 5.8 assists and 3.7 steals.

Paul VI won all 10 games in an abbreviated season but has a legitimate chance to win a national crown with top players Lee Volker, headed to Duke, and Bella Perkins. The Panthers haven't played since Feb. 9.

Fremont (26-0) won the Utah 6A title game 63-43 over a strong Herriman squad (23-2) behind 30 points and 12 rebounds by 6-4 post Emma Calvert. The BYU commit made 16-of-17 free throws and pulled down 12 rebounds. She averages a team-best 17.3 points and 7.4 rebounds per game.

Maggie Mendelson, a 6-5 sophomore, added 15 points and 13 rebounds in the title game for Fremont and averages 14.3 and 8.9. The Silverwolves have been without recent Oregon State commit Timea Gardiner, who averaged 13.5 points and 7.1 rebounds before an injury.
Emma Calvert, Fremont (Plain City, Utah)
File photo by Dave Argyle
Emma Calvert, Fremont (Plain City, Utah)