Who: No. 1 Miami Country Day (Miami, Fla.) vs. No. 4 Seton Catholic (Chandler, Az.)
When: 1 p.m. ET Friday
Where: Christ The King (Middle Village, N.Y.)
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About Miami Country Day: The 2015 champions return to New York with a similarly balanced lineup. The Spartans start just two graduating Division I talents — Illinois signee Channise Lewis and Miami signee Kelsey Marshall — but have depth and serious height up front with 5-foot-10 Asha Taylor, 6-foot Dashaun Jackson and 6-foot-2 Aaysia Berry. Maria Alvarez is a sophomore who averages more than 11 points per game and has a sure scope from behind the arc, while the prospect with the most talent on the entire roster could be a seventh grader: Sydney Shaw.
The Spartans, ranked No. 6 in the USA TODAY Super 25, lost just one game in the Nike TOC, to California power and Super 25 No. 5 Clovis West. They’ve rolled since, capturing the FHSAA Class 4A title for the fourth-straight year. Confidence is not an issue.
About Seton Catholic: This is the second consecutive tournament for Sentinels, who enter following their third AIA Class 4A title in four years. A very balanced squad is anchored by dual Gonzaga recruits LeeAnne and Jenn Wirth inside, who combine for nearly 24 points and 15 rebounds per game. The team’s leading scorer is its ball-handler, junior Sarah Barcello, who averaged 18 points and 7 rebounds per game during Super 25 No. 14-ranked Seton’s 30-3 season.
Two of the Sentinels’ three losses came in the Nike TOC, the same event which provided the lone smudge on Miami Country Day’s schedule. Seton enters on a nine-game winning streak, similar to the 20-game streak they entered with in 2016 before falling to eventual champion Ribault (Fla.).
What to expect: For the second-straight year, Seton Catholic enters on a mission to prove that it deserves respect. The Sentinels put together a second-straight 30+ win season but still enter the tournament as the No. 4 seed. Meanwhile, Miami Country Day has work of it’s own to be done with a chance to claim a Montverde-esque dynasty with a second DICK’S title in three years. Both teams have balanced lineups and enough depth to weather a down game or foul trouble from one or two stars, but Miami Country Day’s versatility should prove the difference to help the Spartans edge their way into another final.