No. 1 Peoria vs. No. 3 Seton Catholic
When: 10 a.m. Saturday
Where: Jobing.com Arena
Records: Peoria 30-4, Seton Catholic 25-8
How they got here: Peoria def. Desert Edge 57-40; def. Liberty 58-47; def. Thunderbird 66-36. Seton Catholic def. Arcadia 55-50; def. Flowing Wells 57-52; def. Palo Verde 52-27.
Key players: Peoria: Taylor Blue, So., F; Alexis Camacho, So., G; Felicia Foster, Sr. G; CeCe Pearl, Sr., F. Seton Catholic: Jessica Bailey, Jr., G; Julia Barcello, So., F; Anne Marie Holter, Jr., G; Susan Spinner, Jr., G.
Outlook: These schools only played two common opponents in Saguaro (won by Palo Verde in early December, Seton split its two games with Saguaro) and Cactus Shadows (both schools beat the Falcons). Leslie Saulsby's Panthers have CeCe Pearl and Taylor Blue up front, and that could be trouble for the Sentinels. The good news for two-time defending champion Seton (4A-II) is its defense has been excellent this postseason (and most of the regular season) and that Flowing Wells offered similar trouble in the quarterfinals, but Seton pulled out the victory. Peoria has three players who average double figures (Felicia Foster, Alexis Camacho and Pearl), while Seton doesn't have the high-powered scoring of its previous teams, and relies on balance and defense. How they handle Foster, a potentially-dynamic PG, will be key, as her and Pearl are the inside-outside threat that makes Peoria go. The Panthers have mostly rolled through the postseason. A nine-point win against Liberty in the quarterfinals (the teams played each other four times this season) was the closest contest, while Seton has played two games that went down to the wire (Flowing Wells and Arcadia). Peoria won girls basketball championships in 1988 and 1989 when it was a spring sport in Class 4A. A win would be the Sentinels' third consecutive championship and sixth overall under coach Karen Self.
Mark Heller is the East Valley Tribune sports editor. He can be reached at email@example.com or (480) 898-6576.