Now things are getting interesting. 

The first round of voting in the Player of the Decade contest saw a lot of activity, but not many close match-ups.

The quarterfinals also saw some serious voting action, a lot of which was late, and some really close races.

Eight nominees entered the quarterfinals with four match-ups and three of those contests came down to 150 votes or fewer.

The Heather Madrigal crowd made the biggest late push Tuesday to help their candidate advance as 3,044 total votes were cast in the quarterfinal round of the contest, which aims to name the top girls hoops player of the past decade from Northern Santa Barbara County and Southern San Luis Obispo County. 

Madrigal edged Aly Beebe, a former St. Joseph teammate and the No. 1 seed, 549-404. At 8 a.m. Tuesday morning, Madrigal held a slim 355-340 edge over Beebe. 

The Ashley Herlihy-Syenna Ramirez showdown really came down to the wire, with Herlihy edging Ramirez 456-416. The Ramirez crowd closed strong, but it wasn't enough to overcome the Herlihy votes. (Herlihy led 381-305 Tuesday morning). 

The other close match-up was between Mariah Cooks and Tatiana Dunlap. 

Cooks, a former Righetti standout, couldn't overcome a strong Dunlap turnout as Dunlap won 351-260. 

The fourth match-up of the quarterfinals was not close as Kaitlyn Flowers continued to overwhelm her competition. After having the highest vote total of the first round, Flowers had the second-highest total in the quarterfinals with 520 votes. She had the biggest total advantage, though, as Flowers beat out former Cabrillo High standout Erin Jenkins 520-88. 

That means the final four are Ashlyn Herlihy, Tatiana Dunlap, Kaitlyn Flowers and Heather Madrigal. 

Herlihy is the only remaining nominee that didn't play at St. Joseph High. Madrigal played her first three seasons there before transferring to Arroyo Grande for her senior campaign.  

Dunlap and Flowers are actually two Lompoc Valley natives and Dunlap played her freshman season at Cabrillo High School. Flowers spent all four years of her high school career at St. Joseph, winning a state title as a freshman.

After two rounds of competition, there have been about 7,600 votes cast in the tournament. The Times and Record polled current and former area coaches to develop a list of 16 nominees. Now four remain. 

Voting will start Wednesday morning online. Votes cast from our three websites (, and are combined to determine the winner in each head-to-head matchup. Voting for the semifinal round will close on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 3 at 4 p.m.