Basketball coaches from across the state descended upon Long Reach High School in Columbia Sunday to draw their matchups for the 2012 4A Boys’ Basketball State Tournament. Home Game Sports’s Jacob Bogage breaks down the seedings for you in Bracketology 101.
Magruder rolls in as the tournament’s No. 1 overall seed and fittingly, has the easiest route to the 4A “final four” and semi-final, to be held at the Comcast Center March 8. The top half of the bracket sends inconsistent 4-seed Wootton to defeat the Colonels, while the No. 2 seed Churchill features an anemic offense that has only twice scored more than 70 points. The Bulldogs are solid defensively, however, and should be able to hold off Josh Hardy and Clarksburg. Ultimately, the 21-1 Colonels should have no trouble getting past Churchill and reaching back-to-back State Semi-Finals.
The remaining four Montgomery County teams are all stuffed into an interesting 4A North bracket. Springbrook takes the 1-seed and should have smooth sailing until it meets another County foe. That would most likely be 12-seed Paint Branch, the region’s lowest seed. The Panthers play a relatively weak Dulaney squad and should play well against fourth-seeded Kenwood. The Blue Devils would meet Paint Branch in Silver Spring on March 1 and Springbrook seldom loses at home. One of the smallest schools in 4A, Westminster, hailing from Carroll County, is the 3-seed and will probably host No. 6 Blake (who should make easy work of 11-seed Poly). Meanwhile 7-seed Sherwood hosts vertically challenged Perry Hall and the winner (presumably Sherwood) will trek to 2-seed Southwestern.
That’s when things get interesting. Most schools in this bracket are very unfamiliar with each other so look for offensive superstars like Sherwood’s Scott Bolen (who needs just 12 more points to reach the 1,000 mark for his varsity career), Springbrook’s Demetric Austin and Blake’s Avery Ugba to have career nights. When the dust clears, “The Brook” will knock of Blake in the round of 8 and the Blue Devils will face Magruder in the State Semi-Final.
The East, home to mostly Anne Arundel County Schools and a few Charles County schools as well, should be hotly contested between the top three seeds: Arundel, Glen Burnie and North Point respectively. Arundel should run through the top half of the region and come out relatively unscathed, but Glen Burnie and North Point will duke it out at the bottom of the region. Look for reigning State Champion North Point to pull an upset over the Gophers, then another over Arundel in the round of 8 to reach back-to-back “final fours.”
The South should theoretically feature the 2012 State Champion simply because the region is loaded with perennial basketball powerhouses. Flowers, Roosevelt, Duval and Wise hold first round byes and are seeded one through four respectively. Flowers and Wise will meet in the round of 16 with Flowers grinding out a tough home win. Duval, who has quietly had an impressive season, will pull an upset over Roosevelt and ride that momentum past Flowers to make it the second 3-seed in the Semi-Finals.
Semis: West v. North
No. 1 MAGRUDER v. No. 1 SPRINGBROOK—These two have met twice already this year and twice the Colonels have come away with wins. This meeting should be no different. Magruder will advance to its second-straight State Final.
Semis: East v. South
No. 3 NORTH POINT v. No. 3 DUVAL—Repeating a title season is always harder than winning one championship on its own. For this reason junior-heavy North Point will fall to the Duval and the Tigers will head to the State Final.
4A State Championship
No. 1 MAGRUDER v. No. 3 DUVAL—Tournaments are about which team carries momentum and at this point the Tigers will have a lot of it. By a five-point margin (let’s say 68-63) the Duval Tigers of Lanham will be your 2012 4A State Champions.