Note: Playoff seedings incomplete at time of publication.
DCIAA Boys' PlayoffsWho's in: Anacostia, Ballou, Cardozo, Dunbar, Eastern, Theodore Roosevelt, M.M. Washington, H.D. Woodson What to watch for: Expect parity to be the theme, much as it was during the regular season.
Although Ballou and Dunbar sealed division titles two weeks ago, they didn't do so in overwhelming fashion.
In 18 games against DCIAA opponents, Ballou won 10 by 10 points or less; half of Dunbar's victories were decided by less than 12.
Ballou senior guard Tyron Parker, the DCIAA's leading scorer at 19.2 points per game, has made at least one three-pointer in all but one game this season. He also has proven to be fearless while driving to the basket.
Dunbar senior swingman Jamar Harrison has scored in double figures in every game this season.
They are two of the many standouts who could play a crucial role. Sophomore Derrick Washington and senior Shelton Elder have emerged from M.M. Washington's deep rotation (it usually uses 11 or 12 players).
Eastern sophomore guard Thomas Robinson has become a dependable scorer. Cardozo, the three-time defending champion, has a pair of strong scorers in senior Marc Bolden and sophomore Rafael Guthrie.
Make plans Saturday to see: A close game. It's hard to imagine a final that doesn't match Ballou and Dunbar, though it's equally hard to imagine a tournament that won't include plenty of drama. The Knights won a non-league meeting over Dunbar, 69-66, on Dec. 12, as Parker and senior Jeffrey Thomas each scored 19 points to offset 29 by Harrison. But both teams have changed since; Ballou went on two trips to Kentucky during winter break, which helped bond an overwhelmingly new roster. Donnell and Donte Thomas -- the younger brothers of Jeffrey Thomas -- emerged on that trip as players who could deliver at crucial moments. Dunbar, meanwhile, is counting on players like senior Nathan Bussey and juniors Jharron Armstrong and Dartanian Lesane to shine.
DCIAA Girls' Playoffs
Who's in: Anacostia, Ballou, Coolidge, Dunbar, McKinley, Theodore Roosevelt, Wilson, H.D. Woodson
What to watch for: The exact opposite from the boys. Anything other than a championship between H.D. Woodson and Theodore Roosevelt would be stunning. Aside from Anacostia taking the Rough Riders to overtime in a 79-77 loss Jan. 31, neither team has been challenged much.
A likely semifinal matchup will be Anacostia getting another shot at Roosevelt. But don't expect the Rough Riders, who trailed by eight after three quarters the first time, to be sleeping on the Indians if they meet again.
Make plans Saturday to see: Roosevelt and Woodson should meet in what would be a rematch of last year's final, which the Warriors won, 70-56. Granted, these two should have met earlier in the season, but their Dec. 21 non-league game was postponed, first because of a disagreement between the two schools over the site of the game. It was canceled three weeks later when they could not agree on a site or a rescheduled date. Each charged that the other was at fault, and it made for a very disappointing situation for local basketball fans.
If they meet, it should be a fascinating game. These are two of the top teams in the Washington area, each featuring several Division I college prospects, highlighted by two seniors -- Roosevelt's Brittany Hilliard (committed to Syracuse) and Woodson's Tia Bell (N.C. State). While Bell and sophomore Bernisha Pinkett (17.2 ppg) each started in that game last year, most of the other Warriors are new to this stage, although they have received good preparation, against opponents like Edison and Notre Dame. A big crowd, though, will be a new variable for the Warriors.
WCAC Boys' TournamentTeam to beat: DeMatha. The Stags entered the week with just one loss in conference play this season, a 62-61 loss to Gonzaga. All-Met guard Austin Freeman and senior guard Jeff Peterson form the area's top backcourt.
What to watch for:Everyone else. St. John's emerged as the league's second-best team, but there is plenty of balance and almost no team is out of the mix. Standouts such as Bishop McNamara guard Jay Gavin, Carroll forward Kris Joseph, St. Mary's Ryken forward John Flowers and O'Connell guard Jason Clark make their teams threats.
WCAC Girls' TournamentTeam to beat: Bishop McNamara, which had won 10 of its last 11 in the league entering this week. The Mustangs also beat No. 3 Edison in a holiday tournament and lost at No. 1 Notre Dame by seven.
What to watch for:Two-time defending champion Good Counsel, slumping Holy Cross and resurgent St. John's. After sputtering early, Good Counsel won 12 of 13 league games entering this week, the only loss during that time being by three points to McNamara. Holy Cross lost to McNamara, Good Counsel and St. John's late in the season -- three teams the Tartans beat during a 12-0 run to open league play. But the recent return of guard-forward Monica McNutt (Georgetown) should help the Tartans. St. John's had won nine straight -- including over McNamara by 18 -- until a loss to Good Counsel on Saturday.
-- ALAN GOLDENBACH,
and PRESTON WILLIAMS