After 17 weeks of play, the Monarchs of Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.) finish the season exactly where they started it -- No. 1 in the country. A senior-laden squad with more star power than any other team in the country this winter, Kevin Kiernan's group duplicated an incredible feat, finishing the season with just one loss despite a tough schedule and cross-country travel, for the third season in a row.
Behind the 33-point effort of the nation's top ranked senior, Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis, Mater Dei downed No. 34 Berkeley (Berkeley, Calif.) in the California Interscholastic Federation Division I championship game this weekend.
New York, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin also crowned champions during the season's final week.
Nazareth (Brooklyn, N.Y.) polished off a chaotic season with a New York AA Federation title, securing a final ranking of 16th, with a 60-54 win over Murry Bergtraum (New York, N.Y.).
Archbishop Wood (Warminster, Pa.) finished its season strong with a convincing run through the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association. Wood cut down the AAA nets with a 53-41 win over Mercyhurst Prep (Erie, Pa.) and a final record of 28-4. In the AAAA championship game Mount Lebanon (Pittsburgh, Pa.) outlasted Archbishop Carroll (Radnor, Pa.) 47-46 and finished the season 25-6 and back in the regional rankings.
Nicolet (Glendale, Wis.) took Wisconsin's top honor with a 58-54 win over Middleton (Middleton, Wis.). The state championship boosted Knights into the FAB 50.
Six of the preseason top 10 teams finished the season back in the top 10, highlighted by Mater Dei's reclamation month of March. And while reflecting on the season, it is also worth looking at Mosqueda-Lewis and her fellow seniors' four-year run -- 123-7 (.946) overall record, a Nike Tournament of Champions top division championship (2009), two state titles (2010, 2011), and two seasons as national No. 1 (2010, 2011).
This group, which set the bar incredibly high for future teams, now hands the torch to a junior class that has been an integral part of the success. Point guard Jordan Adams and shooting guard Alexas Williamson will take the lead and look to continue the success that was truly a monarchy in high school basketball.
-- Chris Hansen
Records are through March 28, 2011 games, where reported.
* denotes a team's season has ended.
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ESPN HOOPGURLZ HS RANKINGS PANEL
Lisa Bodine is a national evaluator for ESPN HoopGurlz. A native of Queens, N.Y., she began her coaching career in 1993 with the NY Gazelles, has coached with D.C.-based Team Unique, and in 2009 she was named DAC Co-Coach of the Year after leading Wakefield Country Day School in Flint Hill, Va., to its first-ever conference title. She can be reached at email@example.com.
Rebecca Gray is an intern for ESPN HoopGurlz. She previously wrote a column for the website about her experiences as a freshman on basketball scholarship at the University of North Carolina. She transferred to and played at Kentucky and now plays basketball and golf at Union College. A 5-foot-10, sharp-shooting guard out of Georgetown, Ky., Gray was named Miss Basketball in the state of Kentucky after averaging 25.6 points, 6.3 rebounds, 4.1 steals and 4.8 assists during her senior season at Scott County High School. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Chris Hansen is the national director of prospects for ESPN HoopGurlz and covers girls' basketball and women's college basketball prospects nationally for ESPN.com. A graduate of the University of Washington with a communications degree, he has been involved in the women's basketball community since 1998 as a high school and club coach, trainer, evaluator and reporter. Hansen can be reached at email@example.com.
Mark Lewis is the national recruiting coordinator for ESPN HoopGurlz. Twice ranked as one of the top 25 assistant coaches in the game by the Women's Basketball Coaches Association, he has more than 20 years of college coaching experience at Memphis State, Cincinnati, Arizona State, Western Kentucky and, most recently, Washington State. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Glenn Nelson is a senior writer at ESPN.com and the founder of HoopGurlz.com. A member of the Parade All-American Selection Committee, he formerly coached girls' club basketball, was a co-founder and editor-in-chief of an online sports network, authored a basketball book for kids, has had his photography displayed at the Smithsonian Institute, and was a longtime, national-award-winning newspaper columnist and writer. He can be reached at email@example.com.