The Maryland public school girls’ basketball tournament field was cemented Sunday, and this year’s bracket ensures that three of the four defending state champions will not be sneaking up on the field come Friday when regional play begins.
That includes two-time defending 4A champion Gaithersburg (15-4), the top seed in the West. The 4A bracket’s top line is rounded out by a pair of the area’s undefeated teams, Eleanor Roosevelt (21-0) in the South and North Point (22-0) in the East. Baltimore’s Mergenthaler is the North’s top seed, while Montgomery County’s Paint Branch anchors the second seed in that field after finishing this season 18-3 overall and 10-0 in Montgomery 4A East play.
Wise, which edged North Point 54-52 in last season’s 4A semifinal before falling by 17 in to Gaithersburg in the final, will have to survive as the South’s sixth seed to make it back to the title game.
For all classes, the state semifinals will be held March 7 and 8 at UMBC’s RAC Arena, followed by the state finals on March 9.
In the 3A bracket, defending champion Aberdeen is the top seed in the East, while last-year’s runner up, River Hill (19-3, 18-1), sits atop the North, setting up a possible rematch, should both teams reach the final. Damascus, which rolled to a 20-2 record this regular season, is the No. 1 seed in the West.
The Swarmin’ Hornets lost to Frederick 60-59 in the regional finals last year. Those two teams could meet in the regional semifinal should Damascus, which has a first-round bye, win its second-round game, and fourth-seeded Frederick beat Urbana, then either Seneca Valley (13-8) or North Hagerstown.
Like Gaithersburg, Calvert has also won two consecutive titles, and is the 2A South’s top seed. Gwynn Park (18-3) is the second seed in the South, while Largo (16-6) is seeded third. All three teams receive a first-round bye. Calvert will meet the winner of Marriotts Ridge (6-14) and Patuxent (5-16). With the bracket pairing the South and East fields against the West and North in the state semifinals, the Cavaliers could meet defending state runner-up Century (No. 2 seed in the West) in a title rematch.