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Boys hoops playoffs ready to roll

By JAMES A. McCRAY III

Staff writerNorth Point head boys basketball coach Jimmy Ball said the word “family” would best describe his team.

Calvert head boys basketball coach Jeremy Kurutz used “confident” to describe his team.

Thomas Stone head boys basketball coach Dale Lamberth used “challenging” to describe his Cougars team.

Interestingly enough, it will take a family-like unit confident enough to challenge for a Maryland boys basketball state championship, which begins this evening with opening-round action in regional play.

For Ball and his Eagles, last year’s playoff run ended with North Point successfully capturing the Class 4A state championship, which was a “once-in-a-lifetime feeling,” Ball said.

However, heading into this year as a No. 3 seed in the Class 4A East Region, the Eagles will have to take a different path than that of last year as a No. 1 seed.

“It doesn’t matter what seed we are,” Ball said. “If we have to play at home or on the road, I don’t care where we have to play, we’re going to be ready to play.

“I don’t even want to use that state championship title right now. We’re not trying to defend anything. We’re concerned with the same goal that we pursued last year, so there is no different feeling. We still have the nerves going in and trying to do something that hasn’t been done.”

North Point will rely heavily on its four double-digit scorers in Marquis Wright, Tre’ Mouton, Matt Bonds and Naim Muhammad, each averaging north of 10 points per game.

Ball and company received a first-round bye as the No. 3 seed and will await the winner of SMAC foe Leonardtown (No. 11 seed) and Broadneck (No. 6).

The Raiders, coming off a regular season in which they improved last season’s record by six wins, will travel to Broadneck of Anne Arundel County at 7 tonight to determine who will travel to North Point on Tuesday.

Great Mills is the No. 12 seed in the 4A East Region and will face North County of Anne Arundel County (No. 5) at 7 tonight with the winner to face the region’s fourth seed, Old Mill.

The 3A South Region tournament will go through Thomas Stone, the one seed after a 21-1 season put in by Lamberth and his team.

“That’s always a plus,” Lamberth said of the home court. “But, outside of that, you still have to play because records don’t mean anything at this point. But, just having not to pack a bag is always good.”

Lamberth said that this year has been challenging, yet fun, in coaching his team full of 15 different personalities and bringing them together to have one parallel vision.

On the floor, Lamberth admitted that his team, when at its most effective, can rebound well enough to win, that in addition to believing in each other they can in fact make a run.

“No doubt can set in, they don’t have room for that,” he said. “No loss of confidence, no doubt, nothing can set in. They have to come in the same way they started the year with the same type of determination.”

In the 3A South Region, Stone will await the winner of Crossland from Prince George’s County (No. 8) and La Plata (No. 9).

After each receiving first-round byes, Chopticon (No. 5) will travel to Prince George’s County’s Friendly (No. 4) for a quarterfinal contest to be played Tuesday night.

Westlake earned the No. 3 seed in the region and will host a familiar opponent in Northern (No. 6) in quarterfinals action to be played Tuesday night.

Westlake won the lone regular season contest between the two, 70-60, in early February.

Huntingtown (No. 7) received a first-round bye and will visit Potomac (No. 2) of Prince George’s County on Tuesday night, also a quarterfinal matchup.

Calvert played itself to a No. 4 seed in the Class 2A South Region and will host a first-round opener against Central of Prince George’s County (No. 13) at 7 tonight.

“We’re feeling pretty good,” Kurutz said of his squad. “We’ve played some really good ball in the second half of the season and within the last month. We started the season winning and we were in a lot of close games. In the second half of the season, we started seeing teams a second time and winning by a larger margin.”

Other first-round action tonight in the 2A South Region includes McDonough (No. 9) visiting Glenelg of Howard County (No. 8), Patuxent (No. 12) heading to Frederick Douglass of Prince George’s County (No. 5) with that winner facing the Central-Calvert winner in the quarterfinals on Tuesday and Lackey (No. 10) visiting Southern of Anne Arundel County (No. 7).

jmccray@somdnews.com