The 6A and 5A North region boys’ basketball tournaments got underway Monday with minimal madness. Battlefield held of Westfield in overtime while Oakton was the lone lower seed to prevail, knocking off Osbourn, 52-49, on the road.
As teams move into Tuesday’s quarterfinal round, things are bound to get more interesting. And if these quarterfinals are anything like Saturday’s WCAC slate — which saw four Post Top 20 teams tumble — it’s time to buckle up for a wild ride.
Here’s a look at the eight quarterfinal games on slate:
6A NORTH (All games at 7:30 p.m. unless otherwise noted)
#2 W.T. Woodson at #1 Battlefield (7 p.m.)
These two teams have met twice in the past year, with W.T. Woodson winning last year’s state quarterfinal battle and Battlefield gaining a measure of revenge with a 76-70 win on Jan. 30. Battlefield enters Tuesday’s contest on a red-hot roll, winning 15 in a row behind Conference 8 player of the year Trevor Blondin (20.7 points per game). But the Cavaliers will also need to focus on slowing down Jamison Glover, who recorded 25 points and 11 rebounds in Monday’s win, and Kameron Hedgepeth, who matched Blondin’s 20-point output last night.
Woodson is looking to generate the same momentum that helped it reach last year’s state semifinals. To do so, the Cavaliers will need elevated play from one or two of their role players to complement the strong play of Conference 7 Player of the Year Eric Bowles, who excels the most by driving and dishing to teammates.
#2 Hayfield at #1 Herndon
Herndon solidified its standing as the region favorite Monday by hanging a season-high 106 points on Patriot. Perhaps what’s even scarier is that Hornets’ leading scorer Dorian Johnson only had five of those points. The deep Hornets possess a wealth of versatile weapons who can slash to the basket and knock down the open jumper, including forward Kent Auslander, who has scored 21 points in his last two games. As the playoffs roll on, the Hornets will need to improve their free throw shooting for late-game situations but so far, their offensive firepower has overshadowed that.
Hayfield has rounded into form during the second half of the season behind the play of junior forward Eliet Donley. The Hawaii transfer is averaging 18.4 points in the Hawks’ last 10 games while serving as a solid rebounder. Donley’s inside impact is matched by the all-around play of Amir Atkins, making the Hawks a tough out in postseason play.
#3 Oakton at #1 Lake Braddock
The Bruins stand as one of the area’s most balanced teams, boasting strong players who can produce in bunches on any given night. Will Gregorits is their top player, gobbling up rebounds on the inside while thwarting opponents with his array of post moves and soft shooting touch. What’s more, the Bruins have shown their mettle in close games — twice holding off Woodson in last-second situations — and displayed their strength against inferior opponents.
In a rematch of a Dec. 17 contest won by Lake Braddock, the Bruins will look to contain proficient Oakton scorer Robert Bacon, who will be depended upon to help the Cougars control the tempo on both ends of the floor.
#2 Robinson at #1 South Lakes
This stands as perhaps the most compelling quarterfinal matchup, with both teams boasting a strong leading scorer surrounded by several capable role players. South Lakes will need to defend the perimeter, as Robinson has knocked down 203 three-pointers this season (an average of about eight per game). Joe Bynum and Jared Steen are especially prone to get hot from the outside, while Taylor Downey gives the Rams a long-armed force on the defensive end.
South Lakes enters the quarterfinal round with wins in 12 of its last 13 games. Brandon Kamga stands as one of the area’s top juniors with his ability to get to the rim with ease. But when the Seahawks guard has struggled, his supporting cast has stepped up in the form of Zach Pearl, Dre Puryear and others.
5A NORTH (All games at 7 p.m.)
#3 Massaponax at #1 Wakefield
After once again establishing itself as an area power by defeating Edison and winning the Conference 13 title, Wakefield appears poised to make another deep playoff run. Warriors forward Dominique Tham has been dominant on the inside, swatting shots on defense while asserting himself in the paint on offense. As the junior establishes himself on the inside, it opens up space for shooters like Marqua Walton and slasher Re’Quan Hopson.
#2 Mountain View at #1 Broad Run
Broad Run has experienced perhaps the biggest turnaround of the area schools, improving upon last year’s 5-17 finish to win 19 games and counting this season. Khiorie Stewart has played a big part in this, averaging 20.5 points and meshing well with the athletic prowess of forward Travis Fulgham. Both came up big in last week’s overtime win against rival Potomac Falls in the Conference 14 title game.
#2 Potomac Falls at #1 Potomac (Va.)
The area’s lone remaining undefeated team will get perhaps its biggest test of the season when Potomac Falls pays a visit to the Panthers, who have won 21 of their 25 games by at least 10 points. The Panthers hold a size advantage in Randy Haynes, who can also fill it up from the outside, and Trey Porter, whose length makes for consistent dunk opportunities. But Potomac Falls has plenty of players willing to bang inside, including hard-nosed junior Wanya Allen, which could make for a physical contest.
#2 Mount Vernon at #1 Halifax
There’s something about the postseason that gets Mount Vernon rolling. Last year, the Majors shook off a five-game losing streak to reach the National District final and Northern Region tournament. This year, they entered the Conference 13 tournament on a four-game losing streak before knocking off then-ranked Edison en route to a title-game appearance. The Majors then bested last year’s run by holding off Tuscarora in Monday’s quarterfinal.
Bryce Washington stands as Mount Vernon’s top scorer, but it’s been the elevated play of his teammates that has propelled the Majors beyond expectations.
NUMBER CRUNCH: 13
Years since Westlake had won a SMAC boys’ basketball crown. The Wolverines ended their drought this year, riding the play of Desi Wiseman and Chris Craft to a first-round bye in the Maryland 3A South region playoffs.
VIDEO OF THE DAY
Take a look at the top basketball plays from the week that was.
And here are video highlights and interviews from Oakton’s road win at Osbourn on Monday night.
-Check out this week’s Post Top 20 boys’ and girls’ basketball rankings, including a new No. 1 on the boys’ side.
-Despite losing 10 players from last year’s team, the C.H. Flowers girls have found success while having fun on and off the court.
-Blake has overcome a tough midseason stretch and a slew of injuries to lock up a first-round bye in the Maryland 4A boys’ basketball playoffs.
-For the first time in eight years, a team not named H.D. Woodson will win the DCIAA girls’ basketball title, as Bell and Wilson vie for the crown Tuesday.
-Despite losing in the first round of the 5A North region playoffs Monday, Tuscarora put together its first winning season while extinguishing the past stigma of “that team that doesn’t win.”
WHAT TO WATCH FOR TODAY
It’s a double-dose of championship action in the District. Don’t let a few snow flakes deter you from getting out to four excellent matchups featuring some of the area’s best basketball teams.
WCAC championships, 6 and 8 p.m. at American University
Both Paul VI’s boys’ and girls’ teams will vie for titles against two of the conferences most storied schools Tuesday night, as the girls take on defending champ St. John’s and the boys battle DeMatha. Here’s a video preview of the boys’ final.
DCIAA championships, 6 and 8 p.m. at Coolidge
The Bell girls vie for their first public school city title against Wilson while the Theodore Roosevelt boys look to continue their late-season roll and build more momentum heading into the DCSAA playoffs when they face H.D. Woodson.