National title up for grabs after No. 1 Mater Dei falls

The crown for the high school girls’ basketball national championship is officially up for grabs.

Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.), which has sat atop espnW 25 Power Rankings for the past 10 weeks, suffered its first loss of the season Wednesday night, a 73-72 overtime stunner to Etiwanda (Calif.) in the CIF Southern Section Division 1AA semifinals.

The Monarchs had won two of the past three national championships and looked invincible most of the year. Led by transfers Karlie and Katie Lou Samuelson, Mater Dei took over the top spot in the espnW 25 Power Rankings in Week 2 after beating last year’s national champions, St. Mary’s (Phoenix), and claiming the title at the Nike Tournament of Champions.

The season is not over for Mater Dei (28-1), which still has a chance to win its fourth straight state title.

As for the national title picture, there are now three undefeated teams remaining from the top five of this week’s espnW 25 Power Rankings. No. 2 Riverdale (Murfreesboro, Tenn.) improved to 31-0 on Wednesday night with its fourth win of the season over No. 17 Blackman (Murfreesboro, Tenn.) for a regional title. No. 3 Duncanville (Texas) stands at 40-0 and has the nation’s longest winning streak at 68 games. No. 4 Windward (Los Angeles) is 30-0 after winning the CIF Southern Section Division 4AA title Wednesday night.

No. 5 St. Mary's (Phoenix) finished its season at 29-1 and won its third straight Arizona state championship.

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