Lake Highland falls in national final but stays strong in last hoops rankings

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Lake Highland (Orlando) could only do so much against Sidwell Friends in the inaugural State Champions Invitational national final.

The Highlanders were down to just seven players, because of injuries and other circumstances, against the nation’s top team — and even still, they led last Saturday’s contest after the first quarter.

Then No. 1 Sidwell Friends kicked things into another gear, and much like all of the Quakers’ previous opponents this season, Lake Highland had no answer. Sidwell Friends earned the hard-fought 50-39 victory.

But the Highlanders, who finish the season slotted No. 10 in the JWS rankings, should be proud of their performance, and the rest of their campaign.

Behind 6-foot-2 forward Nyla Harris, a Louisville signee, Lake Highland won its third straight 4A state state championship and nearly made history on the national stage.

1. Sidwell Friends (D.C.), 30-0

The Quakers solidified their stature as basketball royalty by winning the State Champions Invitational national title.

2. Hopkins (Minn.), 25-1

The Royals capped a near perfect season with a 72-56 win over St. Michael-Albertville in the AAAA state semifinal.

3. DeSoto (Texas), 33-2

The Eagles completed their “legacy tour” with a 40-23 win over South Grand Prairie and a second consecutive 6A state championship.

4. Classen SAS (Okla.), 23-1

The Comets won the school’s first state championship in any sport with a 55-22 win over Tuttle in the 4A state finals.

5. St. John Vianney (N.J.), 32-1

The Lancers ended their season in style, defeating Rutgers Prep 72-52 in the NJSIAA Tournament of Champions finals.

6. Sierra Canyon (Calif.), 29-2

The Trailblazers rolled Archbishop Mitty, 85-61, to claim their second straight CIF Open Division state crown.

7. Montverde (Fla.), 20-3

The Tigers defeated DME, and then New Hope, to claim the GEICO Nationals championship.

8. Cedar Park (Texas), 36-0

Gisella Maul scored 27 points as the Timberwolves earned their second straight 5A state championship with a 45-40 win over Memorial.

9. New Hope (Md.), 28-3

The Tigers beat IMG in the GEICO Nationals semifinal but then fell to Montverde, 61-57.

10. Lake Highland Prep (Fla.), 24-5

In the SCI final, the Highlanders gave Sidwell Friends more of a challenge than most other opponents have this season.

11. Incarnate Word (Mo.), 29-0

The Red Knights routed Kickapoo 67-50 to claim the Class 6 state crown and complete a perfect season.

12. Etiwanda (Calif.), 28-1

Despite their loss to Sierra Canyon in the state semifinal, the Eagles put together a season worth remembering.

13. La Jolla Country Day (Calif.), 24-3

The Torreys’ season came to an end in the CIF open division region semifinal.

14. Hazel Green (Ala.), 33-0

The Trojans defeated Oxford 55-38 in the 6A championship game for their fifth straight state title.

15. Johnston (Iowa), 26-0

The Dragons beat Waterloo West 51-31 to claim the 5A state title one year after losing in the championship game.

16. DME (Fla.), 21-4

DME fell to Montverde, 67-54, in the GEICO Nationals semifinal.

17. Lone Peak (Utah), 23-0

The Knights beat Fremont in the 6A state championship to cap a perfect season.

18. Noblesville (Ind.), 25-4

The Millers beat Franklin Community 76-52 to claim the 4A state title, the program’s second state crown and first since 1987.

19. Woodward Academy (Ga.), 28-3

The War Eagles got shellacked by Lake Highland, 81-57, in the State Champions Invitational semifinal.

20. South Bend Washington (Ind.), 27-3

The Panthers annihilated Silver Creek, 93-35, in the 3A state championship game last weekend.

21. IMG (Fla.), 12-5

The Ascenders beat Bishop McNamara 67-48 in their opening round GEICO Nationals game, but then fell to New Hope.

22. Fremont (Utah), 24-3

The Timberwolves fell to Lone Peak in the 6A state final.

23. Duncanville (Texas), 34-7

The Pantherettes’ season came to an end Feb. 26 with a loss to DeSoto in the 6A Region II final.

24. Hoover (Ala.), 34-3

The Buccaneers beat Vestavia Hills 73-64 to claim the 7A state crown.

25. Centennial (Nev.), 17-4

The Bulldogs were outclassed by Sidwell Friends and fell 63-30 in the State Champions Invitational semifinal.

Josh Needelman is the High School Sports Editor at Just Women’s Sports. Follow him on Twitter @JoshNeedelman.