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Girls squads ready for long postseason run

By AJ MASONStaff writer

This is it. The season is on the line, the proverbial backs are against the wall and the chips are all pushed into the center of the table.

In other words, it’s win or go home time for the Southern Maryland Athletic Conference’s girls basketball teams, who have high hopes of making deep runs into the playoffs.

Calvert begins its quest for a second consecutive Class 2A state championship in three years after earning the second seed in the 2A South Region.

The Cavaliers and the rest of the teams in the state found out their seeds Sunday when the Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association released the regional tournament brackets.

Calvert (21-1 overall), who defeated Middletown of Frederick County in the state final last March, has a first-round bye and will host the winner of a first-round game that has 10th-seeded Lackey (2-16) at seventh-seeded Patuxent (7-13) at 7 p.m. Monday in the quarterfinal round.

The Patuxent-Lackey clash will kick off at 6 tonight. The Panthers defeated Lackey last Wednesday in their regular season home finale, 50-35.

“If we win, we get to practice again and if we lose, we don’t get to practice,” Calvert head coach Frank Moore said. “We are worrying about one game at a time and we are working on our offense. Our press still has some holes in it, so it’s good that we have the bye to work on those things.”

Moore said that the team should get 6-foot-2 sophomore center Daijah Thomas back for the playoffs. Thomas has been out with a shoulder injury she suffered in late January.

“She’s making progress and her time in practice has been limited, but we are working her back into the lineup,” Moore said.

The top half of the bracket has 12th-seeded McDonough (10-13) visiting Prince George’s County outfit Largo (14-7) at 7 tonight in a first-round matchup. Before moving down to 2A this season, Largo won the 3A South the last three seasons.

3A South, 4A EastOver in the 3A South bracket, Chopticon (17-5) was awarded the second seed and a first-round bye. It will host seventh-seeded La Plata, which also received a bye, in the quarterfinals at 7 p.m. Monday.

The Braves defeated La Plata (5-16) in a home contest on Jan. 13, 53-28, and are 8-2 in the last 10 games.

One thing that Chopticon head coach Judy Evans wants to focus on is playing the full 32 minutes.

“We are working playing four full quarters of basketball,” Evans said. “It would be nice to play [tonight], but we are taking full advantage of the extra practice time.”

Third-seeded Westlake will host sixth-seeded Potomac (2-17) of Prince George’s County at 7 p.m. Monday in the quarterfinal round.

The Wolverines have won eight out of their last 10 games, capped by a 12-point win on senior night last Wednesday versus Chopticon, a team that they may see again in the semifinal round.

Last year, Chopticon ousted Westlake on the Wolverines’ home court in the quarterfinal round.

“We’ve found our identity, and by facing the H.D. Woodson’s, the Calvert’s, the North’s Point’s and the Riverdale Baptist’s we won’t be surprised by playing tough competition,” Westlake head coach Ardell Jackson said. “The regular season is over with and we aren’t taking anybody lightly. You can’t worry about seeds at this point, you have to go out and play.”

In the top half of the bracket, fifth-seeded Huntingtown (10-10) will visit fourth-seeded Thomas Stone (13-9) at 6:30 p.m. Monday in a quarterfinal contest.

The two teams split in the regular season. Stone has won seven out of its last 10 games, while the Hurricanes went 5-5 in their final 10 regular season contests.

Friendly of Prince George’s County has the top-seed in the 3A South and will await the winner of tonight’s first-round contest with No. 9 Northern (12-9) at No. 8 Crossland (11-10), also of Prince George’s County. That game is slated for 5:30 p.m. today with the winner moving on to Monday’s quarterfinal.

“If we play tough defense and control the boards, then I think we will be all right,” Northern head coach Brad Kingsbury said. “If I can get the starters to play well and have three or four off the bench to produce, we will be in pretty good shape.”

The North Point Eagles was the lone SMAC girls representative to boast a top-seed in a region and will have a first-round bye.

The SMAC champion Eagles (20-1) are riding high with a 14-game win streak, with its last loss coming at home in the Waldorf Holiday Hoops Classic title game to Calvert. They will take on the winner of Friday’s first-round clash between Anne Arundel County squads, No. 9 North County and No. 8 Old Mill in the quarterfinals at 7 p.m. Monday.

Head coach Michael Serpone and the defending 4A East champs are hungry to get back to the state tournament with a ton of experience in the lineup and depth.

“I think we’re ready,” Serpone said after clinching the SMAC title last week. “I think it’s good to get a week off because it’ll give us time to retool and get a little extra scouting in, refine some things. The key is going to be execution in the offensive end, dictating the tempo we want to play at and then executing on things like at the foul line.”

Great Mills (3-18), as the 12th-seed will travel to fifth-seeded Arundel of Anne Arundel County for a first-round clash at 7 tonight, with the winner taking on fourth-seeded Meade, also of Anne Arundel County, in Monday’s quarterfinal round.

Leonardtown (5-16), the 10th seed, will travel to seventh-seeded Severna Park of Anne Arundel County at 7 tonight in a first-round matchup. The winner will advance to the quarters on Monday to face No. 2 South River, also of Anne Arundel County.