Maryland boys' basketball state tournament preview

Sunday, February 21, 2010; 8:00 PM

4A East

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Top teams: Annapolis (19-1), Old Mill (17-3), Arundel (18-3)

Players to watch: F Delmore Howard, Annapolis, Sr., 6-4; G RJ Harris, Arundel, Sr., 6-2; G Mike Holley, Old Mill, Sr., 6-0; F Justin Kuntz, Glen Burnie, Sr., 6-3

Storylines: The past two seasons the Patriots have entered the 4A East tournament as the top seed only to lose to Thomas Stone in the regional finals in 2008 and the regional semifinals in 2009. With a starting lineup featuring four seniors and Thomas Stone now in the 3A South, this could be Old Mill's best chance at making it to Comcast Center for a few years.

Fans of the Phoenix Suns will feel right at home in this region, where the top three seeds (Annapolis, Old Mill, and Arundel) all average more than 76 points per game and have scored at least 99 points at one point this season. Whether their freewheeling style will mean postseason success still remains to be seen, though.

Draw it up: If the seeds hold true, rivals Arundel and Old Mill could meet in one semifinal, just two weeks after the Patriots handed the Wildcats a 82-76 loss. Top-seeded Annapolis could stumble against either Leonardtown or Glen Burnie in the region quarterfinals, but should have little trouble advancing to the final. The highest seed in the Panthers' side of the bracket is No. 4 North County, who Annapolis defeated by 32 earlier this month.

Semifinals: March 4 at higher seed.

Finals: March 6 at higher seed

4A South

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Top teams: Eleanor Roosevelt (16-4), Oxon Hill (14-4), Bowie (16-4)

Players to watch: G Jared Carithers, Bowie, Sr., 5-10; G Travis Baker, High Point, Sr., 6-2; G Ray Gatling, Oxon Hill, Sr., 6-1; G Daryl Traynham, Sr., 5-9

Storylines: This might be one of the most well-balanced regions in the state, with no true standout and five teams -- add High Point and Wise (both 13-6) to the mix -- bunched close together. The hottest team has to be Oxon Hill, which started 1-4 while two starters were suspended, but has since won 13 a row led by the high-scoring Gatling (26.2 ppg). Not that things have come easy during the Clippers' winning streak; eight of those victories were by five points or less.


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