The Maryland 4A state semifinals tip off Thursday at the University of Maryland. Here’s a breakdown of the matchups.
(1) Richard Montgomery (21-4) vs. (5) Wise (20-5)
Time: 9 p.m.
Richard Montgomery enters this semifinal contest riding a 10-game win streak, which includes a 77-55 victory over Arundel in the quarters. Its up-tempo, high pressure style leads to turnovers and easy opportunities. This squad has a way of overwhelming its opponents.
RM is an experienced squad with quality senior leadership. The Rockets advanced to the state semis last year; they won’t be intimidated by the moment.
Wise dropped four of its first 10 games this season but found a way to turn it around and has been rolling ever since.
The Pumas’ playoff push hit new heights when they dethroned defending 4A champ Eleanor Roosevelt before outlasting Annapolis, 72-62, to advance to the semis.
Richard Montgomery is the top seed and earned it. The Rockets have been here before and to “complete the mission” has been their mantra all season long.
That said, I’m picking the Pumas.
Wise has fought its way through a tough schedule and is playing its best basketball at the right time. Beyond hitting their mark as a team, the Pumas have arguably the hottest hooper in the DMV in their stable. Trey Thomas scored 27 and 30, respectfully, in the Pumas’ last two outings, thus validating his selection as Prince George County’s 4A Player of the Year.
(2) Springbrook (22-2) vs. (3) Parkville (22-3)
Time: 7 p.m.
The Blue Devils have been dominant all season. This high-scoring squad enters Thursday’s semifinal having won 12 games in a row -- 10 of which have come by double figures.
Earlier in its playoff run, Springbrook avenged an early season loss by soundly beating Blake, 66-48, before outclassing Bladensburg to a count of 75-62.
Parkville has a right to believe that this is its year, and if that is the case, Thursday’s semifinal serves as an opportunity to prove it.
The Knights get up and down the court. They are proficient on offense, but perhaps what is most impressive is that their toughness allows them to persevere even when they aren’t making shots.
They’ve performed extraordinarily well out of conference; their victory over a stout Churchill squad upped their non-league record to 10-1.
The brand of basketball Parkville plays combined with ample intrinsic motivation makes it a threat to defeat any opponent on any given day. That day though will not be Thursday, nor will the opponent be Springbrook.
The Blue Devils are clicking on all cylinders and though Parkville will make them earn it, ultimately Springbrook will win and advance to the state championship game.
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