- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
The brackets have been assembled, school administrators have been busy putting the schedules together and the teams have been busy fine-tuning their games.
All that’s left is to actually start the public school girls basketball playoffs as teams prepare a push that will hopefully end with a state championship.
Arguably, many hoops aficionados will be watching Calvert (19-2 overall) with keen interest to see if first-year head coach Tim Contee can lead the Cavaliers to a third-straight Class 2A state title.
Calvert won its first two championships under coach Frank Moore, who is now the head boys coach at Northern.
“Rebound and … our mental toughness has to get back,” said Contee of the Cavaliers, who have won their last six games since a loss to North Point on Jan. 30 that ultimately decided the conference champion. “Our focus has to get better. I think our defense has gotten a whole lot better.”
Daijah Thomas and Alexis Smith said the key to a three-peat will be good old-fashioned elbow grease.
“We must continue to work hard on defense, and offense will come to us,” Thomas said. “What worries me most is rebounding.”
“We’ve got to work a lot harder, a lot harder,” Smith echoed. “Everybody in regionals and at states are going to bring it, so the little things that we’re not doing now, we have to fix ASAP.”
Calvert earned the top seed in the region in large part because Gwynn Park lost a late regular season game to Friendly in a battle of Prince George’s County teams.
The Cavaliers will host the winner of the Patuxent-Marriotts Ridge first-round contest at 6 p.m. Monday at Huntingtown High School, due to construction of Calvert’s gymnasium. The Patuxent-Marriotts Ridge contest was played Thursday night in Howard County between the ninth and eighth seeds, respectively, too late for inclusion in this edition.
McDonough (9-11) was awarded the 10th seed and will travel to Central of Prince George’s County to battle the seventh-seeded Cavaliers in a first round game at 7 tonight.
“We have to limit our turnovers and let our defensive abilities contribute more to our offense,” Rams head coach Tenay Gaddy said. “Our key against Central is leading from the free-throw line, making sure that we stick to playing upbeat defense and converting turnovers into points. The thing that worries me the most is how the girls will react to playing against styles that they haven’t seen before when we play teams from other counties. Every game will definitely be different, so adjustment is going to be key for us, as well.”
4A East goes through North Point
North Point (22-0) earned the top seed in the Class 4A East Region and will host ninth-seeded North County or eighth-seeded Chesapeake, both of Anne Arundel County, in a quarterfinal match-up at 6:30 p.m. Monday.
“As a staff, we have done our homework over the last three months and feel that we will be prepared for any opponent we face in the playoffs,” Eagles head coach Michael Serpone said. “As a group, we have to avoid any outside distractions. We have to stay focused on the task at hand and let nothing get in the way of our ultimate goal.”
Leonardtown earned the sixth seed and will host county rival and 11th-seeded Great Mills at 6 tonight.
“I think in order for us to be successful, we have to be consistent in everything we do; we have to play good defense and rebound the ball, and on offense, we have to be efficient and limit our turnovers,” Raiders head coach Christen Doerrer said. “Both teams know what each other likes to do, so whoever can execute better on both ends of the floor will win the game. I think the main key for us is to stay out of foul trouble, and make shots early.”
Leonardtown won two of three games versus the Hornets during the regular season, and both teams are 9-12 overall. The winner gets a road trip to Arundel of Anne Arundel County for the quarterfinals Monday.
“We need to play as a team,” Great Mills head coach Matthew Wood said. “In games that we’ve been successful in, we have all been on the same page defensively and looked for the open player on the offensive end. The key [against the Raiders] is to box them out, limit our turnovers and not settle for the jump shot. We need to have a total team effort for 32 minutes to be successful.”
3A South up for grabs
Over in the Class 3A South Region playoffs, Chopticon (16-6) earned the second seed and will host seventh-seeded Huntingtown in the quarterfinals at 6 p.m. Monday. Both teams received first-round byes.
“We must pick it up offensively,” Chopticon head coach Joe Cook said. “We also seemed to peak extremely early in the season and have hit that wall; hopefully a week of practice and rest from playing games will do us some good.”
Though the Hurricanes (3-17) have just three wins this year — all have come in the last four games — Cook is not overlooking them by any stretch.
“Huntingtown has gotten better as the season has gone on,” he said. “We need to move quickly in our zones and get out on their shooters to be successful. What worries me most is our inability to put the ball in the basket. We cannot continue to average 45 points a game and think we are going to beat teams in the playoffs.”
Westlake (16-6) earned the third seed and will host sixth-seeded Crossland of Prince George’s County at 6 p.m. Monday in a quarterfinal contest.
“We will have to play with heart, determination and passion,” Wolverines head coach Ardell Jackson said. “We will have to execute and play smart basketball and [be] focusing on the little things. Crossland is a very well-coached team and will fight hard to the final buzzer. We will have to limit their transition baskets.”
A win by Westlake and Chopticon in the quarterfinals would set up a semifinals rematch from last season, which the Wolverines won, and a rematch of a 60-56 Westlake overtime win just nine days ago.
Northern (15-7), which earned the fourth seed, will entertain fifth-seeded La Plata (5-17) at 6 p.m. Monday in another quarterfinal.
“We look at this last game against Calvert [a 73-39 loss last Friday] as a tune-up for the playoffs because we’re not going to see anybody better than Calvert in the playoffs, so if you can play with Calvert, you can play with anybody,” Northern head coach Brad Kingsbury said. “And we did play with them at times; we just have to focus. We just need to get out there and be ready to play at 100 percent for all four quarters.”
Ninth-seeded Thomas Stone (11-11) will travel to Potomac of Prince George’s County for a first-round game at 7 p.m. Friday. The winner gets top-seeded Friendly on Monday in the quarterfinals.
There are many games to be played, and much drama will occur before the state finals March 9 at the University of Maryland Baltimore County’s RAC Arena.