PHOTOS BY GLENN NELSON
Tia Spaulding hadn't scored the entire night - either in regulation or overtime - but the Edison senior found herself at the line, down one, with six seconds to go. She calmly drained two free throws, and the 11th-ranked Eagles held on for a dramatic 60-59 win over Oakton.
But that doesn't come close to telling the whole story. Edison first had to come from six points down with 1:30 left in regulation to force the OT, and then the situation looked very bleak when Oakton star Jasmine Thomas scored with nine seconds to go - but Thomas then fouled Spaulding, setting up the senior guard's heroics.
Still, Spaulding's spot in the headlines could have quickly been erased, but Oakton missed a pair of free throws with no time left and Edison held on for the win, and the 11th spot in the rankings.
That was the key to another week of stability, as the elite teams seem determined to justify their rankings. But some are bound to fall in the coming weeks, as postseason collisions - between Stephenson and Collins Hill, between Long Beach Poly and Brea-Olinda, and between Murry Bergtraum and Christ the King - seem inevitable.
1. (1) Collins Hill (Suwanee, Ga.) 27-0: Taylor Dalrymple is back, and made some key contributions in the fourth quarter in a surprisingly tough game against Sprayberry. Maya Moore had 25 points, 13 rebounds, seven assists and four blocks.
2. (2) Long Beach Poly (Long Beach, Calif.) 27-1: The Jackrabbits got past Bishop Amat in the hotly contested Southern Section Division 1-AA playoffs, and will face unbeaten, seventh-ranked Brea-Olinda in a dream matchup this weekend at the Pyramid in Long Beach.
3. (3) Notre Dame Academy (Middleburg, Va.) 26-1: 'We tried to give one away and create some excitement,' said coach Mike Teasley, but Mia Nickson's two free throws propelled the Dragons to a 45-42 win over Riverdale Baptist.
4. (4) Murry Bergtraum (Manhattan, N.Y.) 23-0: The Blazers will be well rested when they play this weekend - but, after more than a week off, will they be rusty too?
5. (5) Stephenson (Stone Mountain, Ga.) 29-0: Twelve of the 16 Jaguars scored in the rout of Groves, but always tough Beach of Savannah lies in wait this weekend.
6. (6) Bolingbrook (Bolingbrook, Ill.) 30-1: A lot of northern Illinois schools' state title dreams have gone downstate to die - will the Raiders be the next to suffer?
1. (1) Collins Hill|
2. (2) Long Beach Poly
3. (3) Notre Dame Academy
4. (4) Murry Bergtraum
5. (5) Stephenson
6. (6) Bolingbrook
7. (7) Brea-Olinda
8. (8) Rockwall
9. (9) Cy-Fair
10. (10) Incarnate Word
11. (11) Edison
12. (12) Lee’s Summit
13. (13) Winter Haven
14. (14) Kentwood
15. (15) Sacred Heart Cathedral
16. (16) Christ the King
17. (17) The First Academy
18. (18) Washington
19. (19) Germantown Academy
20. (20) Ursuline
21. (21) Sequoyah
22. (22) St. Paul Central
23. (23) North Little Rock
24. (24) Bishop McGuinness
25. (25) Mandan
7. (7) Brea-Olinda (Brea, Calif.) 27-0: The Ladycats took care of business against Santa Margarita (which beat Nevada champion Bishop Gorman), and will finally get their shot at Poly. Both teams will advance to the SoCal Regionals, but will not meet again because they would then play in different divisions.
8. (8) Rockwall (Rockwall, Texas) 38-0: Summit of Mansfield is first (Friday), but everyone's waiting for the immovable object (Rockwall) to meet the irresistible force (Cy-Fair) in the finals.
9. (9) Cy-Fair (Houston, Texas) 38-0: Nneka Ogwumike had 59 points and 44 rebounds in three easy wins - Churchill of San Antonio stands in the way of the meeting with Rockwall.
10. (10) Incarnate Word (St. Louis, Mo.) 26-1: The Red Knights have lost only to Bolingbrook, but with Bianca Beck out due to an ACL, they may struggle to hold on to this ranking.
11. (11) Edison (Alexandria, Va.) 24-1: After surviving Oakton, Forest Park is next - but Princess Anne is no longer around, as star Kim Rodgers hurt her wrist.
12. (12) Lee’s Summit (Lee’s Summit, Mo.) 24-0: Danielle Adams (who will go to Missouri) is getting into gear: 57 points, 32 rebounds and 11 blocks in two games. But one-loss Mills of Hickman is next, with LSU-bound Tyra White leading the way.
13. (13) Winter Haven (Winter Haven, Fla.) 28-3: The Blue Devils rebounded from some early defeats, and rolled to their second 5A title in three years by downing Clearwater 53-42. It was win number 300 for LeDawn Gibson - and by the way, Winter Haven started just one senior.
14. (14) Kentwood (Covington, Wash.) 25-0: Courtney Vandersloot put on a show in an 81-69 win over Mt. Tahoma: 31 points, 12 rebounds, 10 assists, 10 steals and five blocks. That's a quadruple-double, or a five-times-five, depending on how you want to look at it.
15. (15) Sacred Heart Cathedral (San Francisco) 26-2: The Irish are sailing along in California's Division III, and thus will avoid most other state powers in the playoffs - but not St. Mary's of Stockton, Jacki Gemelos' alma mater.
16. (16) Christ the King (Middle Village, N.Y.) 20-3: The Royals finished their regular season 20-3, including a win over nationally ranked The First Academy. But for Christ the King, that's not a particularly good year - so the Royals will look for redemption in the playoffs.
17. (17) The First Academy (Orlando, Fla.) 27-3: As expected, Florida's 2A playoffs proved to be not much of a challenge for the Royals, who blitzed North Florida Christian, 75-46, for another state title.
18. (18) Washington (South Bend, Ind.) 27-1: Skylar Diggins had 26 against Anderson in an 84-76 semifinal win, and the Panthers will expect more of the same in the championship game against Columbus East.
19. (19) Germantown Academy (25-3): The season's over for the Patriots, who don't participate in Pennsylvania's fragmented postseason.
20. (20) Ursuline (Wilmington, Del.) 20-4: The Raiders need to win two more to get to the Delaware title game - where St. Elizabeth will undoubtedly await. The teams are 1-1 so far this year, and nothing would be more satisfying than to settle it all in the state championship.
21. (21) Sequoyah (Tahlequah, Okla.) 23-0: Angel Goodrich is just 5-3, but her numbers stand taller than what passes for mountains in Oklahoma: In two games, 38 points, 20 assists, 15 steals and 13 rebounds.
22. (22) St. Paul Central (St. Paul, Minn.) 26-0: Minneapolis South made the Minutemen actually pay attention in the second half, though the final was 83-64. Angel Robinson had 27 points and six assists, and Georgie Jones added 16 points, 18 rebounds and four blocks.
23. (23) North Little Rock (Little Rock, Ark.) 27-1: The last regular season game didn't prove to be as easy as anticipated, as the Charging Wildcats only won by three, 55-52. The state playoffs start Thursday, and North Little Rock needs just three wins to claim the title.
24. (24) Bishop McGuinness (Kernersville, N.C.) 26-1: Hiwassee Dam is next for the Villains, who swept through their section - and beat Thomasville, the champ four out of the last five years, along the way.
25. (25) Mandan (Mandan, N.D.) (18-1): So Mandan clearly has the mandate in North Dakota, thanks in great part to 6-2 Jessica Kielpinski. The regionals start this week.
Dropped out: None.
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Clay Kallam is the publisher of Full Court Press (www.Fullcourt.com), an online
magazine devoted to women’s basketball. The author of the book “Girls Basketball: Building a Winning Program (Wish Publishing, 2002), Kallam has written about the women’s
game for several national publications and is a voter for the McDonald’s All-American team, the Parade All-American team, the All-WNBA team and the Wooden Award. He is
the coach of The Bentley School girls’ varsity basketball team and formerly wrote for the Contra Costa Times newspaper chain.