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Girls' Basketball: Nike Tournament of Champions begins this week

December 16, 2009 |  1:24 pm

For a child, heaven on earth may be Willy Wonka's chocolate factory.

For a girls' basketball fan, the Nike Tournament of Champions is about as ethereal as it gets.  

The TOC has showcased 10 of the past 12 USA Today national champions and 84 state champions since 1997, according to the TOC website.

Game play kicks off in Phoenix on Friday and culminates next Tuesday. The tournament  features 86 teams, and the Joe Smith division includes SoCal's elite three: Mater Dei, Brea Olinda and Long Beach Poly.

The brackets are set up so that Stockton St. Mary's and Brea Olinda could meet in one semifinal, and Long Beach Poly and Mater Dei could face off in another. 

This could lead to a championship showdown between the nation's top two teams, as ranked by ESPN Rise:  Stockton St. Mary's and Mater Dei. The complete schedule can be found here.

-- Melissa Rohlin