As region finals in the Maryland boys’ state basketball tournament tip off Friday and continue into Saturday, eight teams remain in each of the four classification brackets, 32 teams one win away from the coveted trip to Comcast Center for the state semifinals next week.
But at the time of the region finals, this year’s brackets are transformed considerably from what they were last year at this time. Of the 32 teams remaining, 22 were not regional finalists in their classification last season. Three — Potomac, Joppatown, and last year’s 2A state champ, Edmondson-Westside — have earned region final berths in different classifications than they did last year: Potomac, now 2A, was a 3A state finalist, Joppatown and Edmondson-Westside dropped from 2A to 1A.
Perennial powers like Dunbar, Magruder, Eleanor Roosevelt, and others are already out, so a cast of unfamiliar faces leads remaining teams into the final week of the Maryland high school basketball season. Here’s a list of some standout players from area teams who you need to know as you watch region finalists become state semifinalists and, by the end of next weekend, state champions.
Top recruits to watch:
Wise is led by forward Micah Till, an N.C. State football commit, who averages 18 points per game. He’ll match up against a Tigers roster featuring shooting guard Edward Polite, who has offers from Hartford, Delaware, Towson, Wagner, St. Peter’s, Radford, and Virginia Commonwealth. He plays alongside sophomore A.J. Wilson, who already has offers from Penn State and Monmouth.
4A North final: No. 1 Dulaney vs. No. 1 Springbrook. Friday, March 7, 7 p.m. at Springbrook
Top recruits to watch:
Montgomery County’s perennial power Springbrook is led to the region finals by 6-5 shooting guard Andrew Robinson, who has nine offers including Marshall, Siena, Towson, and Drexel, and interest from a handful of others. He and his brother Aaron lead the Blue Devils against a balanced Dulaney team that features prominent big man Jon Sims and juniors Isaiah Lamb and Scott Harrelson, each of whom could ping college radars with big senior years.
The Vikings play a decidedly team-oriented style, led less by one standout player than a concerted group effort. They’ll take on Clarksburg, also a defense-first team, but one led by guard Josh Hardy, the school’s all-time leading scorer, who had interest from Towson, VCU and Radford coming into his senior year.
Severna Park’s leading scorer, Taylor Kitzmiller, is a player to watch for the Falcons, and his near 15 points per game stand out among Anne Arundel County’s best. Annapolis is led by Juan Brown, who averaged nearly 23 points per game this season. He’s committed to Division II Bloomfield College (N.J.).
3A South final: No. 1 Stephen Decatur at No. 1 Westlake. March 7, 6:30 p.m. at Westlake
Stephen Decatur standout senior Tyler Hunter has dropped as many as 39 points in a game this season, and will be crucial to his team’s chances against Westlake, which features senior guard Desi Wiseman, averaging nearly 15 points per game. A big playoff run could help Wiseman, who’s looking to add some DI schools to his list of interested college suitors.
3A North final: No. 1 Milford Mill vs. No. 2 Edgewood. March 7, 6 p.m. at Edgewood
Okay, so neither of these teams falls within the Post’s coverage area, but it’s worth checking out Milford Mill’s loaded roster in case a Post team ends up facing the Millers at Comcast. The Millers are led by one of the state’s finest point guards in Team Takeover star Justin Jenifer, who’s got offers from Cincinnatti, Memphis, South Florida, Stanford, and Xavier, and interest from Big 10, ACC, and SEC schools, too. Senior swingman Allen Costley is a Towson commit, while power forward Lolami Charles has interest from Abilene Christian, Central Connecticut State, and Longwood, among others. Junior forward Elijah Cooper has heard from schools like Illinois, Miami, Temple and UConn, while sophomores Brice Moore and Gary Burley will evolve into DI prospects, as well. Basically, if you get a chance to watch the Millers — and weren’t convinced by the mascot-naming creativity — you should.
3A West final: No. 1 Urbana vs. No. 2 Wheaton. March 7, 7 p.m. at Wheaton
The name to know in this game for Post-area fans is Ibrahim Kallon, the name of Wheaton’s talented guard who led Montgomery County scorers with 19.9 points per game this season. While he’s experienced some bumps in his high school basketball road, a deep playoff run and some bigtime performances could merit the looks his 2013-14 scoring display would suggest he should earn.
3A East final: No. 1 City vs. No. 1 Reservoir. March 7, 6 p.m. at Reservoir
While Reservoir has some players to watch — namely senior guards Kyle Reilly and Aaron McDonald, who each average more than 13 points per game — the real recruiting junkies will be more intrigued by City’s roster, which is loaded with top-tier prospects. Leading the crew is senior point guard Kamau Stokes, who’s got offers from 14 schools (Buffalo, Delaware, Florida Atlantic, Florida Gulf Coast, Iona, Long Island, Mount St. Mary’s, Northern Kentucky, Ohio, Radford, Rider, Toledo, Quinnipiac, UMBC) and interest from Butler, St. John’s, and George Mason, among others. He’s part of a loaded senior class which also features Tim Bond (committed to Jacksonville) and Omari George (who has an offer from George Mason and interest from others).
This game is loaded with top talent, headlined on the Scorpions’ side by 6-7 explosion-in-waiting Mamadou Ndiaye, a junior, who already has an offer from Howard and interest from a variety of other power conference teams, including Maryland. He’ll face off against one of the more prominent players in the D.C. area, Maryland commit Dion Wiley, who leads a Potomac team gushing with Division I talent. Wiley’s’ backcourt mate Randall Broddie – a reclassed sophomore — already has offers from DePaul, Miami and Southern Methodist, with more likely on the way from interested suitors like Cincinnati, Georgetown, Maryland, Rutgers, Virginia, Virginia Tech, and Xavier.
Wolverine big man Quadree Smith, who transferred from Paul VI in the middle of this season, boasts more than a dozen offers, including Drexel, George Mason, Nebraska, Southern Miss, Tennessee, Towson, Tulsa, and UNC-Greensboro, where he was committed until midway through this season before reopening his recruitment. He’s often replaced in the game by Keiron Howard, one of the area’s top football prospects with interest from Nebraska, Indiana, Boston College, and others. Joining them down low is senior Dayjar Dickson, who has Division II offers in his pocket but interest from Army, Howard, Temple, and High Point. Junior forward Anthony Smith will undoubtedly earn DI looks after this season, which has seen him emerge as a hustling, versatile, explosive force on the offensive and defensive end.
(No other 2A region finals include Post-area teams)
Maryland 1A North region final: No. 1 New Town at No. 1 Central. Saturday, March 8, 3 p.m. at Central
In the only 1A final to boast a Post-area team, Central hosts athletic powerhouse New Town Saturday afternoon in a game featuring plenty of recruits. New Town’s senior guard Danny Shand has interest from Division I schools like Central Connecticut State and Towson. Central’s senior guard and leading scorer Davon Taylor is hoping a trip to Comcast will boast his recruiting profile, though he’s certainly got a top-notch resume: his 24.6 points per game were most for any public school player in the D.C. area this season, a number made more impressive in the context of the highly competitive, talent-laden Prince George’s 3A/2A/1A league he victimized.
NUMBER CRUNCH: 12
12 of the 16 region title games will be played tonight, meaning 14 teams will be alive in Maryland state tournaments by this time tomorrow.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR:
Oakland Mills at. No. 14 Potomac tonight should provide some highlight-reel fodder, and while Clarksburg vs. Whitman in the 4A West final may not be as good a source of YouTube-ready clips, it will definitely be a defensive struggle worthy of its late-playoff setting.
— Johnnie Shuler had the play of the night on a loaded night in DMV high school basketball as Theodore Roosevelt claimed the DSCAA title with a win over Maret.
— Senior Britani Snowe tallied a career-high when it mattered most to spark St. John’s to the DSCAA girls’ title last night.
— It’s been a tragic two weeks for the W.T. Woodson community, but the Cavaliers’ basketball team has done all it can to provide reprieve to its fan base with a magical playoff run.
— Check out our updated Maryland and Virginia playoff brackets here.
PHOTOS OF THE DAY:
If you couldn’t make it to Verizon Center to see the DSCAA title games, no problem, we documented the scene:
VIDEO OF THE DAY:
Check out Theodore Roosevelt guard Johnnie Shuler’s championship dunk that had the DMV buzzing last night: