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Player of the Decade: First-round winners and quarterfinal matchups
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Player of the Decade

Player of the Decade: First-round winners and quarterfinal matchups

From the Sweet 16 we go to the Elite 8. 

Some 4,500 votes were cast in the first round of the Santa Maria Times' Player of the Decade contest and the field has been cut in half. 

The theme of the first round? Not much drama and not many upsets. 

In the eight first-round matchups, there were only two upsets and only a few matchups decided by 100 votes or fewer.

No. 1 seed Aly Beebe didn't outright dominate her first round opponent, No. 16 seed Ryle Sager, a former Lompoc High standout. Beebe, the former St. Joseph star, did ease into the quarterfinals with a 367-216 win, though. 

No. 2 seed Ashlyn Herlihy, an Arroyo Grande High grad now at Santa Clara, had a similar result in her first round matchup. Herlihy defeated No. 15 seed Ravynn Anielski, a Pioneer Valley graduate, 305-170.

Then came our first upset of the first round as the St. Joseph contingent showed its strength throughout the round.

No. 14 Syenna Ramirez, a former Knight, fended off the No. 3 seed Molly Schlemer, of rival Righetti, 326-261, earning a spot in the quarterfinals. 

No. 4 Mariah Cooks had one of the most dominant showings in the first round. The former Righetti High star, who played four years at Washington State, eased past No. 13 seed Simone Swain, who led Valley Christian to a CIF title, 330-90, the second-most lopsided result of the first round.

The most dominant performance came from St. Joseph graduate Tatiana Dunlap, the No. 5 seed. Dunlap had no trouble with No. 12 seed Hailey King, winning 422-76. 

Though Dunlap won by about 350 votes, the No. 1 vote total from the first round went to former St. Joseph teammate Kailtyn Flowers, who ended up with 446 votes in a 446-187 win over No. 11 seed Danielle Morgan, a former Lompoc and current Hancock standout. 

Erin Jenkins, the No. 7 seed and the lone Cabrillo High nominee, did enough to get past the No. 10 seed Shnyia Tell, a Pioneer Valley graduate. Jenkins topped Tell 257-179. 

Then came the last upset of the first round and one of the most contested races of the eight matchups. No. 9 seed Heather Madrigal, who won CIF championships at both St. Joseph and Arroyo Grande, edged No. 8 seed Danita Estorga, a Righetti High grad, 440-350. 

Here are the Elite 8 matchups

NOTE: Re-seeding does occur when possible to avoid former teammates facing each other.

No. 1 Aly Beebe vs. No. 9 Heather Madrigal

No. 2 Ashlyn Herlihy vs. No. 6 Kaitlyn Flowers

No. 14 Syenna Ramirez vs. No. 7 Erin Jenkins

No. 4 Mariah Cooks vs. No. 5 Tatiana Dunlap


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