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The Girls National High School Invitational is set to kick off this weekend in Western Massachusetts, with 16 teams in two tiers.
Here's a quick rundown of the schedule and our picks:
Saturday, May 17 Quarterfinals
Fallbrook (Calif.) v North Bay (Md.)
Catholic Memorial (Wisc.) v Kent (Wash.)
Amazons (Calif.) v St. Joseph's Academy (Ohio)
DSHA (Wisc.) v Danville (Calif.)
Fallbrook has too much speedy firepower and should defeat North Bay. Catholic Memorial v Kent should be an interesting game, but Kent is stacked with athleticism and power up front. The Washington team, which has been a title contender virtually every year since girls started having a national tournament in 1999, should win.
Amazons v St. Joseph's might not be the blowout some might expect - St. Joe's can play, especially in a shortened game - but it should go to the Sacramento team.
DSHA v. Danville - upset special! DSHA is and should be favored, but Danville might be the one team seeded 5 through 8 that could knock them off.
Fallbrook v Kent
Amazons v DSHA
Two sets of relatively similar teams. It's a gross generalization, but Fallbrook and Kent win more on speed than size, and DSHA and Amazons usually dominate with inside power (but not always).
These games are too close to call but we might be looking at a DSHA v Fallbrook final.
Pleasanton (Calif.) v State College (Pa.)
Berkshire United (Mass.) v Kingston (NY)
Morris (NJ) v Cheshire (Conn.)
West End (Va.) v New York (NY)
State College v Pleasanton could well be our upset special. State College has been very tough at nationals before and they can put a stranglehold on a shortened game. Pleasanton has notched some impressive victories this season, but it might be State College this time around.
Home team Berkshire should not have too much trouble with Kingston. Morris and Cheshire might be close, but it should be Morris. West End v New York will also be a close one, but West End will probably win.
That sets up potential semis of:
State College v Berkshire
Morris v West End
After that, it's a pick 'em, but we like the home side, Berkshire, to win Tier II