The inaugural State Champions Invitational in Tampa, Florida, Friday and Saturday, is the first of its kind at the national level.
The girls’ basketball event features three teams ranked in the SC Next Top 25, including No. 1 Sidwell Friends (DC). The four participating schools, all of which are headmasters, were selected from the seven states whose governing bodies allow teams to compete in events after their high school season ends.
Woodward Academy (Ga.) Takes on Lake Highland Prep (Fla.) In the first semifinal (Friday at 2 p.m. ET, ESPNU / ESPN App), followed by Centennial High School (Nev.) Vs. Sidwell Friends (DC) at pm (ESPNU / ESPN App). The winners will compete in the championship on Saturday (10 am ET, ESPNU / ESPN App).
We break down the prospects that could define the tournament.
Sidwell Friends (DC)
Main advisor: Tamika Dudley
Best victories: DeSoto (Texas), Hopkins (Minn.), St. John Vianney (NJ)
G Kiki Rice | Class 2022 | 5-foot-11 | UCLA signature
W Jadyn Donovan | Class 2023 | 6 feet | Uncommitted
Rice sweeps all the national awards, such as the Gatorade National Player of the Year and Morgan Wootten Player of the Year at McDonald’s All-American Games Ring ceremony. She has led Sidwell to an unprecedented year for her girls basketball program. The UCLA-bound guard is as dynamic on the open court as any player in the country. She has averaged 15.8 points, 7.0 rebounds and 5.1 assists this season.
Donovan is a huge talent who has made his mark on all parts of the basketball court this year. The high-flying wing / forward has improved her pull-up jumper. She bounces from the perimeter with the best of them and cuts to the edge to finish with a smoothness unlike many others in the country. Top schools like Arizona, Duke, Maryland, Notre Dame, UCLA, North Carolina, Tennessee and NC State are on the hunt. She averages 15.2 points, 8.4 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 3.3 steals and 1.9 blocks. Once the 2023 espnW rankings are updated, she is committed to climbing higher than her current ranking as No. 10.
2. Lake Highland Prep (Florida)
Main advisor: All Glory
Best victories: Hoover (Ala.), Woodward Academy (Ga.)
F Nyla Harris | Class 2022 | 6-foot-2 | Louisville signature
PG Eleecia Carter | Class 2023 | 5-foot-8 | Uncommitted
Louisville-bound Harris is a strong striker who can put the ball on the deck, rebound with physique and has a nice touch to stretch the defense in his face upward play. What immediately stands out with Harris is how smooth and powerful she is. She makes her presence known in the paint, but can then also take a rebound coast-to-coast. She averages 17.8 points and 11.4 rebounds.
Carter is a high energy guard who is fast with the ball in his hands and has proven to be a very consistent 3-point shooter for Lake Highland Prep. Defensively, she puts a lot of pressure on the opponent’s pointguard, which creates opportunities for her team to quickly break to the other end for easy buckets. Her recruitments include Florida Gulf Coast, Mercer, UT Arlington, Memphis, North Florida, Florida Atlantic and Kennesaw State.
3. Woodward Academy (Georgia.)
Main advisor: Kim Lawrence
Best victories: Hoover (Ala.), Mt. Paran (Ga.), Blanche Ely (Fla.)
G Sydney Bowles | Class 2022 | 6-foot-1 | Signing in Georgia
W Sara Lewis | Class 2023 | 6 feet | Uncommitted
Bowles has signed a contract with Georgia and is one of the best all-around guards in the country. Her size and skills allow her to play one of the three perimeter spots if necessary. She can lead as a point guard, or she can cut to the block or clamp post for an advantageous front up or post entrance. She has a sense of her game that cannot be learned. Defensively, she uses her size and physique to also protect multiple positions. She averages 20.9 points, 7.2 rebounds and 4.6 assists this season.
Lewis is a budding talent who has had a great year for the Georgia 5A State champs. She is an active player who plays with her energy, height and jumping ability. Right now she’s more of a slashing forward, but her basic skills have improved and she’s added a nice midrange jumper and occasionally 3-ball. She jumps past the passing lanes and gets well on the glass defensively. She averages 14 points and 4.1 rebounds. Her recruitment includes offers from Appalachian State and George Washington.
4th Centennial High School (Nevada)
Main advisor: Karen Weitz
Best victories: Grandview (Colo.), Crestwood Prep (Canada)
G Kaniya Boyd | Class 2024 | 5-foot-9 | Uncommitted
W / F Montaya Dew | Class 2023 | 6-foot-2 | Arizona commits
It’s no surprise that Centennial has won another 5A state championship in Nevada. Boyd is a 2024 guard rising on stocks, making his presence primarily marked on the defensive end. She pushes the ball and likes to get in the passing lanes. She has a good feel for the game, which leads to playmaking abilities. As she adds strength and finds more confidence in the 3-ball, she will see her game expand. Her recruitment includes offers from Power 5 schools such as West Virginia, Utah and Kentucky.
Dew is an Arizona commitment with superb potential. She has the leaping ability to finish near the edge and the range to stretch the defense to the 3-point line. She can play in the front spot and facilitate, or help with a great lineup by playing a perimeter position. She has a real chance at separation when she becomes consistent in her efforts and confidence.