GIECO Nationals: Check out the 4 girls basketball teams competing for the championship

Four of the top girls basketball teams in the country, including the top two teams in the MaxPreps rankings, will show their might at GEICO Nationals this week.

McDonogh (Med.), Long Island Lutheran (N.Y.), Westtown (Penn.) and Montverde Academy (Fla.) will compete for the prestigious championship on March 31 and April 1, with the opening games taking place on Friday.

Between those four teams, nine players are ranked on ESPN’s rosters for the 2023 and 2024 classes.

Here’s a quick preview of the teams before the game.

Find the GEICO Nationals schedule here. Read the GEICO Nationals Boys Basketball Tournament Preview here.

Montverde Academy
Record: 24-1
MaxPreps Ranking: 1

Montverde didn’t just dominate – the Eagles crushed their very good competition. Eighteen of their 25 games have come against teams with at least 20 wins, and Montverde has won 17 of them. They finished the season ranked No. 1 by MaxPreps in large part because they beat Long Island Lutheran, the only head-to-head matchup between any of those four GEICO teams on the season.

Montverde has four ESPN-ranked players, including Baylor commit Letycia Vasconcelos, South Carolina commit Sahnya Jah, Mississippi State commit Mjracle Sheppard and 2024 star Vivian Iwuchukwu. The group is formidable and won’t give up its top spot easily.

Long Island Lutheran
Record: 21-2
MaxPreps Ranking: 2

Long Island Lutheran had just as brutal a schedule as Montverde, and the Crusaders walked away nearly as unblemished. They had 14 wins against teams with more than 20 wins, and their only two losses were to the aforementioned Eagles and to the 32-1 St. John Vianney. If LuHi can win this tournament, they will be able to convincingly say that they are the best team in the country.

They will arrive with ready-made star talent. Five-star Kate Koval was the Gatorade New York Girls Basketball Player of the Year, and four-star Kaylee Heckel is among the top players in the class of 2024. Cilla Swords, who is representing Canada on the Nike Hoop Summit World Team, is also among the tournament’s top players.

Record: 23-2
MaxPreps Ranking: 25

The Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association conference champions will look to prove their mettle as the best team in the region and the nation. McDonogh has been largely unstoppable since going 8-0 in the COVID-shortened 2020-21 season, amassing a combined record of 45-6 in 2021-22 and 2022-23.

The IAAM all-conference team was essentially McDonogh players, with Anaiah Jenkins, four-star players Kennedy Ume and Paris Locke and Wake Forest commit Makaela Quimby on the roster. This star-studded group is also aided by 2024 Maryland commit Ava McKenney. With this rich pool of talent, the Eagles will be hoping to make their mark at the GEICO Nationals.

Record: 21-4
MaxPreps Ranking: Unranked

Westtown’s ridiculous point differential this season of 1780-983 was both more points scored than any of the other three teams in this tournament and fewer points allowed than the others. Fifteen times their defense held opponents under 40 points; five times their opponents failed to score more than 20 points. If Westtown is to do any damage in this tournament, it will likely be on the back of that defensive effort.

Westtown had five girls on the Friends Schools League first team: Delaware three-star Grace Sundbeck, Seton Hall Joniah Bland Fitzpatrick, Zahra King, Savannah Curry and Jordyn Palmer. Keep an eye on Palmer, an eighth-grader with multiple 30-plus point games this season. She has performed brilliantly against older competition throughout the season; if she can do the same here, Westtown could make some noise.

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