Maryland 3A girls’ basketball playoff preview: region by region breakdown


Damascus senior Kelli Prange goes up for two during a game against rival Poolesville on Jan. 6. (Toni L. Sandys/The Washington Post)
Maryland 3A vital stats

• 49 teams

• State semifinals March 13, 7 and 9 p.m., SECU Arena

• State final: March 15, 8 p.m., SECU Arena

• Defending champion: Aberdeen

3A North

All the teams in the 3A North region fall outside The Post’s coverage area, but the region may very well feature the eventual state champion, as defending champions Aberdeen and 2013-14 powerhouse Milford Mill (21-1) are its two top seeds. Whoever survives that region final matchup has a good chance to advance through a matchup with the 3A South champion.

3A South

No. 1 seeds: Stephen Decatur, Westlake

Contenders: Stephen Decatur (18-2), Westlake (18-3), Chopticon (15-4)

Upset potential: Northern (9-9), Crossland (15-5)

Potential games to watch:

• Northern vs. Stephen Decatur — region semifinal, March 6

• Crossland vs. Chopticon — region quarterfinal, March 4

• Chopticon vs. Westlake — region semifinal, March 6

Breakdown:

The 3A South region is populated predominantly by SMAC teams, none of which were better this season than Westlake. Chopticon also put together a strong season, but both teams have to avoid the pitfalls of a region filled with familiar conference foes and a relative unknown in Crossland, which posted a 15-5 record against tough Prince George’s County league competition this season. A safe bet would be for Westlake to reach the region final, but it’s tough to say how far past that the Wolverines will go.

3A West

No. 1 seeds: South Hagerstown, Damascus

Contenders: South Hagerstown (20-0), Damascus (19-3), Frederick (17-3)

Upset potential: Seneca Valley (14-7), Thomas Johnson (13-6)

Potential games to watch:

• North Hagerston vs. Frederick — region quarterfinal, March 4

• Frederick vs. South Hagerstown — region semifinal, March 6

• Seneca Valley vs. Damascus — region semifinal, March 6

Breakdown:

The 3A West region is a Frederick County vs. Montgomery County battle, with the top half of the bracket featuring all Frederick County rivals and the lower half Montgomery County foes. Of the former, South Hagerstown looks to be the strongest contender, having not lost yet this season and making it to the region final last year. Damascus won the region in 2013, and is poised to do so again with a relatively unintimidating lower half of the bracket, in which the main challenge could come from Seneca Valley, if one comes at all. South Hagerstown would appear to have the tougher road back to the region final, as Frederick looms in the semis, but all signs point to a Damascus/South Hagerstown rematch in the 3A West final.

3A East

No. 1 seeds: Poly, Reservoir

Contenders: Poly (22-1), City, Reservoir (14-5)

Upset potential: Mount Hebron (14-5), Centennial (15-5), Atholton (15-5)

Potential games to watch:

• Mount Hebron vs. City — region quarterfinal, March 4

• Atholton vs. Reservoir — region semifinal, March 6

• City vs. Poly — region semifinal, March 6

Breakdown:

Poly looks like the prohibitive favorite in the 3A East, which is made up of Howard County and Baltimore City schools. Poly has dominated its area competition this season, and will likely have no trouble against Reservoir, the top seed in the lower half of this region’s bracket. The biggest test for the Engineers will likely come from City, who they’d face in the region semifinal, which will likely determine which team emerges from the region.

Big 3A picture

If Aberdeen hopes to defend its 2013 title, it will have its work cut out for it, even just to get out of the region. Westlake is likely to emerge from the 3A South, but regardless of which team emerges from the North/South state semifinal, the East/West matchup seems likely to yield the state champion. Damascus and South Hagerstown are both state-championship caliber teams again, and Poly has dismantled almost all comers so far this season. In other words, the 3A final four will be tremendously entertaining.

Brackets: Follow your school through the postseason

Girls region-by-region breakdowns: 4A | 3A | 2A | 1A

Boys region-by-region breakdowns: 4A | 3A | 2A | 1A

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