For the first time in Southern Maryland Athletic Conference history, there will be conference teams in three of the four classifications at the girls’ Maryland state tournament this week at Towson. No. 13 North Point (4A East), No. 17 Westlake (3A South) and No. 16 Calvert (2A South) won their respective region finals to give the conference a chance to take home more championships than any other state conference or county.
“I feel like it really does raise the standard for all of these schools to make it so far,” Calvert senior Daijha Thomas said. “There’s a lot of talent coming into SMAC and leaving SMAC, that helps open the door for the conference itself.”
The Cavaliers (20-4) have the longest legacy of appearances in the semifinals. They captured their fourth consecutive region title with a 59-52 win against Largo and will play Dunbar on Wednesday.
Thomas, who will play at Towson next year, is looking to take home her fourth state title in as many years, despite losing top players that prompted doubt from people that “just cause we lost key people, we weren’t going to make it this far again,” Thomas said.
The conference swept 4A and 2A last year with the help of North Point (23-2) and first-team All-Met Tasia Butler (now at Syracuse). The loss of the Eagles’ top scorer prompted doubts that North Point would be able to capture its fourth consecutive 4A East title. The Eagles trailed Old Mill by nine at the half and entered the fourth quarter down by one, but pulled off a 57-51 win with a 20-point fourth quarter. Freshman guard Necole Hope scored seven of the final eight points. It was a stat line that represented the scoring trends of the 2014 Eagles.
“We’re very balanced in scoring, more than in other years where certain people have dominated,” senior Brianna Hodges said. “We really play like a team, that’s the biggest and most interesting thing this year. Our leading scorer changes every day.”
Westlake (22-3) captured the 3A South title with a dominating 67-49 win against Stephen Decatur. They took the lead with a 43-point second half after trailing by one going into halftime. Senior forward and Towson commit Shanea Butler led with a game-high 17 points. The Wolverines have never been to the state title game and will face Milford Mill Thursday — the same opponent for the boys’ squad in an earlier game at Comcast Center the same day.