• 45 teams
• State semifinals: Mar. 12, SECU Arena
• State finals: Mar. 15, 6 p.m. SECU Arena
• Defending champions: Western STES
No Post teams play in any of these three regions. The 1A East is relatively short on depth, but No. 1 seed Mardela may have the best chance to advance to the state semifinals. In 1A West, 2013 state semifinalist Southern is back as a No. 1 seed, but faces a tough road out of the top half of the West bracket with Fort Hill and Allegany as the No. 2 and 3 seeds, respectively. If Southern emerges from the 1A West scrum, it will likely have a good chance to knock off the East’s champion and head to the finals. Benjamin Franklin and Forest Park, neither of whom made noise in last year’s tournament, are the top seeds in the 1A South.
No. 1 seeds: New Town, Forestville
Contenders: New Town (17-2), Forestville (8-8)
Upset potential: FAET
Games to watch:
• FAET vs. New Town — region semifinal, Mar. 6
• Central vs. Forestville — region quarterfinal, Mar. 4
• Surrattsville vs. Forestville — region semifinal, Mar. 6
New Town has one of the best playoff resumes of any 1A team, and will likely cruise through the 1A North and into the state final. Forestville is the most formidable team on the Prince George’s County-loaded bottom half of the 1A North bracket, and only a big upset would keep the Knights from a bid in the region final.
Neither of last year’s state finalists are contenders this season, and as a result, the 1A tournament field is wide open. State semifinalists Mardela and Southern are back and top seeds again, but New Town — which fell to eventual champion Western STES in the North region final last year — looks ready to make a run at the title.