PHOTOS BY ASSOCIATED PRESS
It wasn't the prettiest game of the week, but it was one of the most important.
Fenwick avenged an earlier loss to Bolingbrook, 35-27 (no, that wasn't the halftime score) as Alison Jackson and Devereaux Peters made big plays in the fourth quarter and final minute to shake up the rankings. Jackson had six of the Friars' 13 fourth-quarter points, including four free throws in the final minute, and Peters had five in the last eight minutes, including a natural three-point play to seal the deal.
Bolingbrook, previously ranked No. 6 and a winner over Fenwick earlier this season, shot just 28.6 percent in the Illinois championship game. Brittney Thomas, who had carried the team all year, was scoreless and took just three shots.
Fenwick's four heralded senior starters finally claimed a state title for the Friars, who have been knocking on the door since they were freshmen - and got to cut down the nets after their last game.
1. (1) Collins Hill (Suwanee, Ga.) 29-0: The Eagles haven't buckled under the pressure of being No. 1 all season, but No. 5 Stephenson and Georgia power South Gwinnett await in the Final Four this weekend.
2. (2) Long Beach Poly (Long Beach, Calif.) 31-1: The battle between Poly and Brea lived up to expectations: 11 lead changes in the second half before the Jackrabbits pulled out a 55-53 win. Reserve Kelli Thompson's late three-pointer with the shot clock running down was the key play.
3. (3) Notre Dame Academy (Middleburg, Va.) 26-1: This weekend's Bishop Walsh Invitational will finish the season for the Dragons, who aren't part of the Virginia state playoffs.
4. (4) Murry Bergtraum (Manhattan, N.Y.) 24-0: After disposing of Francis Lewis 80-37, the Blazers face a possible rematch with Manhattan Center, which has played them tough three times already.
5. (5) Stephenson (Stone Mountain, Ga.) 31-0: It's the fifth consecutive Final Four for the Jaguars, who used an 18-0 burst to send Beach back to, well, the beach.
6. (8) Rockwall (Rockwall, Texas) 40-0: Only two other teams have finished 40-0 in Texas: Duncanville in 1997 and South Oak Cliff in 1980. It wasn't easy, though - Haley Day took a charge with 21 seconds left in OT to wrap up a 59-54 win.
1. (1) Collins Hill|
2. (2) Long Beach Poly
3. (3) Notre Dame Academy
4. (4) Murry Bergtraum
5. (5) Stephenson
6. (8) Rockwall
7. (7) Brea-Olinda
8. (nr) Fenwick
9. (9) Cy-Fair
10. (10) Bolingbrook
11. (11) Edison
12. (18) Washington
13. (13) Winter Haven
14. (nr) Lewis and Clark
15. (21) St. Paul Central
16. (14) Kentwood
17. (15) Sacred Heart Cathedral
18. (16) Christ the King
19. (17) The First Academy
20. (nr) M.L. King
21. (19) Germantown Academy
22. (22) Sequoyah
23. (nr) St. Elizabeth
24. (24) Bishop McGuinness
25. (25) Mandan
10. Incarnate Word
12. Lee's Summitt
23. North Little Rock
7. (7) Brea-Olinda (Brea, Calif.) 30-1: Brea got 30 and 12 from Jeannette Pohlen, but the Ladycats just didn't have the depth to hang with Poly for 32 minutes. They do advance to the Division II state playoffs, though.
8. (nr) Fenwick (Oak Park, Ill.) 36-2: Avenging losses is big, especially when the revenge is taken on the number six team. The Friars erased the earlier loss to Bolingbrook, and also swept Marian Catholic, which swept the only other team (Marist) to beat Fenwick.
9. (9) Cy-Fair (Houston, Texas) 39-1: There were 14 lead changes in that 59-54 OT loss to Rockwall. More than 10,000 watched the thriller, which came down to a late charge called on Bobcat star Nneka Ogwumike.
10. (10) Bolingbrook (Bolingbrook, Ill.) 31-2: The Raiders have wins over Fenwick, Hickman and Incarnate Word of Missouri, Red Mountain of Arizona, and Morton, by 30, which was the only other team to beat them.
11. (11) Edison (Alexandria, Va.) 29-1: Doreena Campbell had 31 and 13 in the win over Forest Park. Heritage, in the state semis, is next.
12. (18) Washington (South Bend, Ind.) 28-1: The Panthers lost the first game, with some starters sitting for disciplinary reasons, and never lost again. Skylar Diggins had 27 points, 17 rebounds, six assists, five steals and three blocks in the state championship win.
13. (13) Winter Haven (Winter Haven, Fla.) 27-3: The Blue Devils lost to Stephenson in preseason, and if the Jaguars can upset Collins Hill, both schools' stock will rise.
14. (nr) Lewis and Clark (Spokane, Wash.) 26-3: Lyndi Seidensticker stuck a three with 4.3 seconds to go in the semis to beat Kentwood, and then the Tigers knocked off University (for the third time) in the finals for their second straight title.
15. (21) St. Paul Central (St. Paul, Minn.) 27-0: The Minutemen are averaging 86 points a game, and led Harding, in the playoffs, 67-7 at halftime. Maybe they'll get a challenge Thursday.
16. (14) Kentwood (Covington, Wash.) 28-1: A controversial charge called on Gonzaga-bound Courtney Vandersloot with 31.4 seconds left blunted a ferocious fourth-quarter comeback, and the Conquerors lost 60-57. Vandersloot finished with 34, 15 in the final period.
17. (15) Sacred Heart Cathedral (San Francisco) 28-2: The Irish drop two spots because Kentwood dropped two - and Kentwood beat Sacred Heart in session two of the Nike TOC in Phoenix.
18. (16) Christ the King (Middle Village, N.Y.) 20-3: The Royals didn't play, but also slipped two slots because Sacred Heart Cathedral beat Archbishop Mitty three times - and Mitty beat Christ the King.
19. (17) The First Academy (Orlando, Fla.) 27-3: Even though these Royals didn't play either, they slide as well - because they lost to Christ the King.
20. (nr) M.L. King (Detroit) 23-1: The Michigan girls play in the fall, so their relative strength is always uncertain. But King was the best in the state, and Michigan is known for its talent.
21. (19) Germantown Academy (25-3): If only Pennsylvania had a real state championship, Upper Dublin could prove it on the court. Or Germantown could.
22. (22) Sequoyah (Tahlequah, Okla.) 24-0: Make it 36 in a row for the Indians, as Angel Goodrich had 35 points, 10 steals, seven assists and six rebounds in a 67-23 playoff win. The third straight state title seems assured.
23. (nr) St. Elizabeth (Wilmington, Del.) 22-3: The spinner finally settled on St. Elizabeth, which rode 26 points from Khadijah Rushdan to a 55-45 state title game win over Ursuline at the sold-out University of Delaware. The Vikings had been in and out of the rankings these last few weeks, but now they're here for good.
24. (24) Bishop McGuinness (Kernersville, N.C.) 31-1: The East Bladen Eagles are all that stand between the Villains and the 1A state title. Be there: Noon Saturday at North Carolina State.
25. (25) Mandan (Mandan, N.D.) 21-1: After disposing of Bismarck 76-59, the Braves move on to the state championships this weekend.
Dropped out: 10. Incarnate Word (St. Louis,Mo.), 12. Lee's Summitt (Lee's Summitt, Mo.), 20. Ursuline (Wilmington, Del.), 23. North Little Rock (Little Rock, Ark.)
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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.