The Calvary Christian boys, the No. 6 ranked team in the SBLive/SI Power 25 national boys basketball rankings, earned the top overall seed in the inaugural State Champions Invitational.
Four-team boys and girls brackets were unveiled on Wednesday for the first-year culminating event for NFHS state champions, the day after the eight-team GEICO National fields were announced for national programs and prep schools.
Auburn (Wash.), Norcross (Ga.) and Sidwell Friends (D.C.) join Calvary Christian on the boys side. Sidwell Friends enters the top overall seed in the girls bracket, followed by Lake Highland Prep (Fla.), Woodward Academy (Ga.) and Centennial (Nev.).
The tournament, which is put on by GEICO Nationals organizers Paragon Marketing Group, will take place from April 7-9 at Berkeley Preparatory School in Tampa, Fla. and televised on ESPN Networks.
Led by LSU commit Marvel Allen, Calvary Christian repeated as FHSAA Class 4A state champions after beating Andrew Jackson (Fla.) in the finals on March 5. The Eagles (24-2) have key out of state wins over Camden (N.J.), No. 9 in the Power 25, and No. 12 North Little Rock (Ark.). They also lost to No. 4 Montverde Academy in overtime.
About the State Champions Invitational
- 'The run continues:' Auburn accepts invite to play in inaugural national tournament after WIAA Class 3A state title
Two-seed Auburn (27-2) went through the vaunted Seattle Metro League to win the WIAA Class 3A title on March 5, its first in school history.
The Trojan boys avenged a regular season loss to top-seeded Garfield (Wash.), beating the defending state champions in an overtime thriller in the quarterfinals, 64-60, then beat Seattle Prep (Wash.) 45-34 in the semifinals and Rainier Beach (Wash.) in the championship game.
Norcross (26-6), the boys 3-seed, defeated Berkmar for the GHSA Class 7A state title on Saturday behind standout junior guard London Johnson's 27 points and eight boards. It's the program's first state title since 2013.
Sidwell Friends (29-1) was named the boys No. 4 seed after winning 27 straight games en route to a DCSAA AA state title. The Quakers entered the SBLive/SI Power 25 at No. 17 after beating Wilson (D.C.) 46-45 in the D.C. title game and picking up a key win over Bishop McNamara (Md.)
The field is made up of teams from schools in the eight states where the high school state associations allow member schools to compete in postseason tournament play: Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Utah, Arizona, Washington, Nevada and Washington D.C.
April 7 (ESPNU)
4 p.m. ET: No. 4 Sidwell Friends vs. No. 1 Calvary Christian (boys)
6 p.m. ET: No. 3 Norcross vs. No. 2 Auburn (boys)
April 8 (ESPNU)
2 p.m. ET: No. 3 Woodward Academy vs. No. 2 Lake Highland Prep (girls)
4 p.m. ET: No. 4 Centennial vs. No. 1 Sidwell Friends (girls)
April 9 (ESPN2)
10 a.m. ET: Girls championship game
Noon ET: Boys championship game
(All photos by Ed Turlington)