Many of the area’s elite girls’ basketball teams are accustomed to packing their bags and trekking across the country to play against top competition. But this week, a handful of them will have the luxury of facing off against nationally-ranked teams close to home in the 3rd Annual National Title IX Holiday Classic, which runs from Wednesday to Friday at Trinity Washington University in Northeast.
Top-ranked Riverdale Baptist (9-1), No. 2 St. John’s (8-3) and No. 4 Holy Cross (7-1), along with Coolidge (0-4) and Wilson (4-5), will play in the tournament which also features Fairfax (Calif.), Mater Dei (Calif.) and Spring Valley (S.C.) — three teams that have been ranked high in national polls in the past or are among the top national teams now.
Riverdale Baptist Coach Diane Richardson, whose team had a strong showing in last week’s Nike Tournament of Champions in Arizona, said this week’s showcase tournament is the strongest local tournament in recent history. “They bring them in and we get to stay home and play them,” she said.
One highlight for the Crusaders, who are ranked in the top 5 nationally in two major polls, is a Thursday night matchup against Spring Valley, which is ranked in the top 20 in two major polls.
Holy Cross, which also finished 3-1 in last week’s Nike tournament, was a late addition last week after another local tournament was cancelled. Coach Eddie Simpson pounced on the chance to play elite competition at Trinity, which includes a game against Mater Dei on Friday morning.
“It’s a great opportunity for us because it allows us to prepare for the [Washington Catholic Athletic Conference], which is going to be a grind all year and it will prepare us for that, as well as the Phoenix trip did,” Simpson said. “I challenged my team and I think they’re ready to play.”
2:30 p.m.: Fairfax (Calif.) vs. Holy Cross
4 p.m.: Mater Dei (Calif.) vs. Wilson
5:30 p.m.: Riverdale Baptist vs. Coolidge
3:30 p.m.: Coolidge vs. Fairfax (Calif.)
5:00 p.m.: St. John’s vs. Mater Dei (Calif.)
6:30 p.m.: Spring Valley (S.C.) vs. Riverdale Baptist
10:30 a.m.: Mater Dei (Calif.) vs. Holy Cross
Noon: St. John’s vs. Spring Valley (S.C.)
1:30 p.m.: Fairfax (Calif.) vs. Riverdale Baptist