Who: No. 2 Seton Catholic (Chandler, Ariz.) vs. No. 3 Ribault (Jacksonville, Fla.)
When: 1 p.m. ET, Friday
Where: Christ The King, Middle Village, N.Y.
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About Seton Catholic: A bona fide desert powerhouse, Seton Catholic has won five of the past Arizona Division II state titles. This edition of the Sentinels is powered by relative youth, with an entire starting five comprised of three juniors, a sophomore and a freshman. Twins Jenn and LeAnne Wirth lead the Sentinels down low with offensive accuracy and sheer stature on defense; both are taller than 6 foot. The team’s sophomore starter, Sarah Barcello, is a dead-eye shooter who finished the pre-DICK’S season with a three-point rate greater than 40 percent. And if there were any questions about Seton Catholic’s tournament bona fides, consider the fact that it’s lone loss came to another nationally ranked foe — NorCal power Archbishop Mitty — on the road by a mere two points.
About Ribault: The Class 5A state champ Trojans are powered by a pair of dynamic scorers, with Rennia Davis scoring more than 20 points per game and Day’Neshia Banks just behind at more than 18 points per game. Of the two, Davis is particularly difficult to shut down, presenting a constant matchup problem with her height (6-foot-1), range and wingspan from the guard position. The third wheel in Ribault’s offensive tricycle is senior point guard Kayla Rogers, who leads with her head first. That’s a good thing considering the fact that she’s already enrolled in college courses before she steps foot on the Florida International campus, where she’ll be expected to contribute for the Panthers from Day 1.
What to expect: When it comes to even matchups, it’s hard to get more level than Seton and Ribault. Between them, the two squads have lost just two games all season (one by each team) and both bring a legacy of championship success in their home state. Despite all the combined heritage, neither school has braved the battle-tested waters of the DICK’S tournament before, so there will certainly be questions of nerves. While Ribault has the scoring punch to put a game out of reach with a hot streak, Seton has terrific inside-out balance that could be hard for the Trojans to defend for a full game. Put all those variables into a pot and stir, and we should all be in for a heck of a contest.