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.
Update: Voting is now closed in our Player of the Decade semifinal round. Tatiana Dunlap upset top seed Ashlyn Hurlihy with a big push from th…
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 (santamariatimes.com, lompocrecord.com and synews.com) 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.
Player of the Decade: Voting in semifinals now closed
GBB: Player of the Decade SemifinalsUpdated
No. 1 Ashlyn Herlihy vs. No. 4 Tatiana Dunlap
No. 1 Ashlyn Herlihy, Arroyo Grande High
- Currently playing at Santa Clara University
Herlihy, a 6-foot-1 forward, averaged 19.9 points and 12 rebounds a game throughout the 2014-15 season at Arroyo Grande, which was Herlihy's junior year. She led the team to a 24-3 overall record, which included a 21-game win streak and an undefeated and untested run through the PAC 8 League. She was named the league MVP, the Times' All-Area MVP and the SLO County Player of the Year.
Herlihy was even better as a senior, averaging 22 points, 9.7 rebounds, 1.4 steals and 5.5 blocks per game. (The Eagles went 20-8 that year and split the league title with Righetti and Herlihy was named the All-Area Offensive Player of the Year).
Herlihy has gone on to play at Santa Clara University. She redshirted there in 2016-17 and has grown into a starting role the last two seasons, averaging over 10 points and 7 rebounds a game. She earned All-West Coast Conference honors the last two years. She's started 61 games the last two seasons.
No. 4 Tatiana Dunlap, Cabrillo/St. Joseph
- Played at CSU San Bernardino and Cal Lutheran
Going up against Herlihy is Dunlap, a standout two-way guard who starred at St. Joseph High before playing in college.
Dunlap won a CIF state title in her sophomore season with the Knights. In her three seasons at St. Joseph, Dunlap scored 1,300 points and the 5-foot-8 guard averaged 23.7 points, 3.0 assists, 9.2 rebounds and 2.6 steals per game as a senior.
Like Herlihy, Dunlap also earned one All-Area MVP award, during her senior season. Dunlap averaged 15.1 points over 87 games with the Knights. As a junior in 2011-12, Dunlap averaged a double-double for the season, with 15.3 points and 10.3 rebounds per game, while also dishing out 3.0 assists and swiping 2.4 steals per game.
No. 2 Kaitlyn Flowers vs. No. 3 Heather Madrigal
No. 2 Kaitlyn Flowers, St. Joseph
- Played at Akron
A 2014 St. Joseph graduate was a freshman on the Knights' 2011 CIF State championship team. (Flowers played a key role in the Knights' state title win over Oakland's Bishop O'Dowd, eating up 28 minutes and leading the team in rebounding while playing effective defense against the Dragons).
Flowers eventually scored over 1,400 points in her St. Joseph career. As a senior in the 2013-14 season, Flowers averaged 17.9 points, 7.3 rebounds, 3.7 assists and 4.8 steals per game.
As a junior, Flowers averaged 18.1 points, 4.5 rebounds, 4.9 assists and 4.7 steals. As a sophomore, she scored 18 points a game, adding 4.3 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 4.4 steals per game.
She finished her St. Joseph career with 1,448 total points, 503 total rebounds, 326 assists and 391 steals in 110 games. She averaged 18 points a game over the 75 games she played in her sophomore, junior and senior seasons. She also averaged nearly five steals a game in that span.
No. 3 Heather Madrigal, St. Joseph/Arroyo Grande
- Played at Cal Poly
Madrigal was also on that 2011 state title team at St. Joseph. After that season, she transferred to Arroyo Grande and went on to win her fourth CIF championship in 2012.
Madrigal won three CIF Southern Section titles and one state championship. That's four more titles than the total league games she lost during her career. (Madrigal's teams went 48-0 in league in high school).
Madrigal went 113-20 in her four-year varsity career. The 5-foot-8 forward scored more than 900 points at St. Joseph and, during her lone season at Arroyo Grande, she topped 500 points.
Madrigal averaged 16.2 points, 8.7 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 1.5 steals per game as the Eagles went 27-6 that year. She played 98 games with the Knights and averaged 9.4 points, 4.5 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 1.8 steals per game.
Madrigal was named the Times' All-Area MVP after her lone season in Arroyo Grande.
Girls Basketball Player of the Decade poll - Our semifinal matchups are now set!
Player of the Decade: InfographicUpdated
No. 1 Aly Beebe vs. No. 8 Heather Madrigal
Beebe earned the No. 1 seed after she averaged 20.1 points, 12.5 rebounds, 2.6 steals and 3.4 blocks a game during her junior season. She led the Knights to two CIF Southern Section title and a state title. She missed her senior season with an ACL injury and then signed with Stanford.
Beebe scored 1,423 points in just three seasons and had a legitimate shot at a 2,000-point career.
Madrigal was in the same class as Beebe and they spent the first three years of their high school careers together at St. Joseph.
Madrigal then transferred to Arroyo Grande for her senior season and helped the Eagles win their first CIF-SS title in girls basketball in 2011-12. She finished her career with four total CIF titles (Southern Section and state) and a 48-0 mark in league games. She played at Cal Poly.
No. 2 Ashlyn Herlihy vs. No. 7 Syenna Ramirez
Herlihy, the No. 2 seed will face Ramirez. Herlihy is currently playing at Santa Clara. She earned the Times' All-Area MVP award as a junior and was also the 2016 San Luis Obispo County Player of the Year. She averaged 22 points, 9.7 rebounds, 1.4 steals and 5.5 blocks per game as a senior at Arroyo Grande.
At Santa Clara, Herlihy redshirted in 2016-17 and has grown into a starting role the last two seasons, averaging over 10 points and 7 rebounds a game. Herlihy earned All-West Coast Conference honors the last two years.
Ramirez scored over 1,300 points in her career.
As a senior, she averaged over 17 points a game and culminated her prep career with a 427-point season. Ramirez starred at Hancock after her St. Joseph days.
No. 3 Kaitlyn Flowers vs. No. 6 Erin Jenkins
Flowers won a state title at St. Joseph during that 2010-11 season. She would go on to score over 1,400 points in her St. Joseph career while also providing the Knights with elite defense and rebounding. As a senior in the 2013-14 season, she averaged 17.9 points, 7.3 rebounds, 3.7 assists and 4.8 steals per game.
Flowers played at Akron after high school.
Jenkins was named All-Area MVP in back-to-back seasons at Cabrillo. During her senior season, she averaged 20.3 points, 8.6 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 3.3 steals per game.
Jenkins scored 1,779 total points during her Cabrillo career, which spanned 111 games. She averaged 16.2 points, 7.0 rebounds, 2.7 steals and 2.3 assists per game. Jenkins plays at Northwest Nazarene University in Idaho.
No. 4 Mariah Cooks vs. No. 5 Tatiana Dunlap
Cooks played four years at Washington State after starring at Righetti. As a junior, Cooks averaged 17.2 points per game with 10.7 rebounds and 4.3 steals per game.
In her senior year, Cooks was named the PAC 7 League MVP as she averaged 21.7 points per game and 12 rebounds in league play.
She led the Warriors to the quarterfinals of the playoffs averaging 22 points and 12.6 rebounds per game. She also earned All-CIF honors.
Dunlap played at CSU San Bernardino and Cal Lutheran after winning a state title at St. Joseph. During her senior season, the 5-foot-8 guard averaged 23.7 points, 3.0 assists, 9.2 rebounds and 2.6 steals per game as the Knights went 19-9.