Sidwell Friends, Saint John Vianney face off in weekend showdown

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Sidwell Friends girls basketball team (Courtesy of Tamika Dudley)

The tail end of the high school basketball season is coming into focus, and this weekend is full of games with postseason implications. Here’s a look at three of the most important we’ll have our eyes on.

1. Sidwell Friends vs. Saint John Vianney

Sidwell Friends (Washington, D.C) has rarely been tested this season.

Other than a five-point win over No. 3 Desoto, on Jan. 22, the top-ranked Quakers (18-0) have beaten all of their opponents by double digits. Point guard Kiki Rice is a finalist for the Naismith Player of the Year Trophy, and Tamika Dudley is a finalist for the Coach of the Year trophy.

The Quakers also have their sights set on GEICO nationals. But before they can think about hardware, Sidwell Friends will need to get past perhaps their stiffest test yet: No. 5 Saint John Vianney (Holmdel, N.J.).

The Lancers (18-0) have also rolled through their regular season slate, and have big postseason dreams. Sunday’s matchup between the two powerhouses will have repercussions on the national basketball landscape.

2. Etiwanda vs. Mater Dei – Southern Section Girls Championship

No. 4 Etiwanda (Etiwanda, Calif.) is also looking toward nationals, and will look to burnish its resume Saturday against Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.) in the Southern Section Championship.

The teams have not played yet this season, but Mater Dei has looked strong recently, with wins over Windward (Los Angeles) and Rosary Academy (Fullerton) over the past week.

Still, the Monarchs will need to be hitting on all cylinders to overcome an Etiwanda team that’s made a strong case for the best team in California.

3. Noblesville vs. Crown Point

Noblesville (Noblesville, Ind.) made waves when it eliminated Homestead (Fort Wayne, Ind.) and McDonald’s All-American forward Ayanna Patterson in the first round of the state playoffs. Now, the Millers are on the brink of the state championship game.

The team will challenge Crown Point (Crown Point, Ind.) in a semifinal contest Saturday.

When the teams played in the regular season, on Dec. 22, Noblesville won in a 57-32 rout. But Crown Point has looked like a different team since the matchup, and enters Saturday’s bout winners of six in a row. The stage is set for a memorable contest.

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