No time for Cinderellas
The lineup for the final two rounds of the Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association girls basketball tournament is set, with the Class 1A and 2A semifinals to be played Wednesday and the 3A and 4A semis on Thursday. The 2A, 1A and 3A finals are scheduled to be played, in that order, Saturday at 5, 7 and 9 p.m. after the UMBC men's team plays Vermont in the America East Conference championship Saturday at noon. The 4A title game will be played next Monday at 7 p.m.
If you're looking for a "Hoosiers" scenario, where an underdog team, a la the George Mason men's team of two years ago, breaks through to make a miraculous title run, you've come to the wrong place, as only one team seeded lower than third in their region made it through to any one of the final fours.
In 1A, Allegany (23-3), the top seed in the West sectional of the West region, advanced to meet Surrattsville (17-7), the No. 2 seed in the South sectional of the South region. Pocomoke (22-1), the top seed in the East region, emerged to face Digital Harbor (19-3), the No. 2 seed out of the North region.
The Baltimore area is virtually assured of a state champion out of 2A, as three local teams advanced through their regions. On one side of the bracket, Poly (20-5), the champions of the North region, will meet Wicomico (19-4), the East region winner, who, as the No. 4 seed, is the only team in the field that could legitimately be called a Cinderella. Meanwhile, on the other side of the bracket is a clash of unbeaten titans, as Winters Mill (25-0), the West top seed, will meet the South's top seed, Mount Hebron (26-0).
By the way, the MPSSAA announced today that the Winters Mill-Mount Hebron game will start at 9 p.m. Wednesday, with the game between Wicomico and Poly tipping off at 7 p.m., a change from previously announced start times.
In the 3A bracket, defending 2A champion Atholton (21-2) moved up a class size and emerged from the East region as the top seed. They'll meet Western (20-3), the No. 2 seed from the North, ensuring that a Baltimore area team will advance to the finals. Great Mills (24-1), the top seed from the South, will meet Paint Branch (23-0), the No. 1 seed from the West region.
Just as in the 3A region, the 4A alignment ensures that an area team will play next Monday for a state championship. Arundel (21-5) the East region's top seed, will meet Dulaney (19-3), the top seed from the North region. That semifinal winner will face the winner of the semifinal pitting Blake (22-3), the No. 1 West seed, against defending champion Eleanor Roosevelt (22-2), the top seed from the South region.