Thursday, Feb. 28, 2008

Yellow Jackets take unbeaten record into 2A regional

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The Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association had its annual boys’ basketball playoff draw Sunday, and as usual, some interesting scenarios could unfold as the postseason begins.

First-round playoff games are set for Friday, with quarterfinals taking place Tuesday and region semifinals set for March 6. Region finals will be next weekend.

The 4A South Region, composed entirely of county schools, has some interesting pairings that make some teams appear to be playing in different positions than their seeds would indicate.

Laurel (17-2) drew the 4A South’s top seed after losing just one County 4A League game. Henry A. Wise (17-5) had an impressive regular season and earned the 4A South’s No. 2 seed. Eleanor Roosevelt (14-5) has the third seed, and Bowie (15-7), with a strong late-season finish, captured the 4A South’s fourth and final seed. All seeded teams earned a first-round bye.

The second-round matchups may be the story of the 4A South tournament. Laurel will host the winner of a first-round game between No. 8 Oxon Hill (10-8) and No. 9 Charles H. Flowers (7-13). Meanwhile, on the same side of the bracket, Bowie will play a less-challenging opponent than Laurel when the Bulldogs host the winner of No. 5 High Point (2-16) and No. 12 Parkdale (2-18).

Second-seeded Wise will most likely face No. 7 DuVal (13-7), which plays No. 10 Suitland (4-18) in a rematch of the regular season finale. Roosevelt, on the other hand, will play host to the winner of the game between No. 6 Bladensburg (9-12) and No. 11 Northwestern (8-13).

3A South

Midway through the regular season, the Largo boys seemed a lock for a top seed in the 3A South Region, but stumbled late and finished 18-4. Nonetheless, Largo did earn the No. 3 seed and will face the winner of the game between No. 6 Crossland (10-10) and No. 11 Westlake (14-6). No. 7 Friendly (12-9) will host No. 10 Potomac (6-16) on Friday with the winner playing No. 2 Huntingtown (17-3). Last season, Largo went undefeated until being upended by Bethesda Chevy-Chase in the state semifinal.

2A South

Easily the talk of the 2A South has to be undefeated Gwynn Park (23-0). The Yellow Jackets are the No. 1 seed, but will have an interesting time trying to get back to its first state Final Four since 2004, when they lost to Douglass (Baltimore) in the state title game on a shot in the final seconds. The Yellow Jackets get a first-round bye and will host the winner of Saturday’s game between No. 8 Oakland Mills (6-14) and No. 9 Central (5-16).

Meanwhile, Fairmont Heights, which staggered at the end of the season to a 13-7 finish, earned the 2A South’s No. 4 seed. The defending region champion Hornets will face No. 13 Mount Hebron (3-17) on Friday.

If the Hornets win their first-round game, they will return to action Tuesday against the winner of Friday’s game between No. 5 Calvert (4-15) and Frederick Douglass (10-12).

If both the Yellow Jackets and Hornets advance beyond the second round, Gwynn Park will host Fairmont Heights in what would be the third meeting between the two teams.

Second-year Gwynn Park coach Mike Glick eagerly awaits the playoffs.

‘‘Basically, we’re excited we’re the No. 1 seed and we’re excited that we’ll have the opportunity to be able to host a lot of the rounds,” Glick said. ‘‘For us to matriculate through, we’ll have to beat one or two of the teams that we will have faced for the third time this season. The best thing I can say about my team this year is that it is one of the few teams that I’ve coached in over 20 years that has gotten better and better as the year has gone along.”

1A South

The MPSSAA did something new this year for the Class 1A draw as the 1A West and the 1A South Regions were subdivided into sectionals.

In the nine-team 1A South, Surrattsville (7-12) and Forestville (6-13) will face one another in the South Sectional on Monday. The winner moves on to face the winner of Tuesday’s game between South Carroll and Glenelg.

E-mail Terron Hampton atthampton@gazette.net.