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Itinerary set for whistle-stop journey to state tournament

February 25, 2008|By TIM KOELBLE

Maryland's public schools trek to the hardwood this weekend after the opening assignments for the state tournament were announced on Sunday by the Maryland Public Schools Secondary Athletic Association.

The girls tournament will begin on Friday with the region champions winding up at the University of Maryland-Baltimore County on March 14-15 for the state final four.

The boys begin play on Saturday with the final four earning a ticket to the University of Maryland's Comcast Center, also on March 14-15.

The Herald-Mail's top-ranked girls team - North Hagerstown (19-2) - was the second seed out of the Class 2A West Region with a first-round bye. They will host the winner of Friday's Northwood (2-14)-Clarksburg (8-11) game on March 3.

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The top seed was Winters Mill (21-0). The other formidable teams in the region include Middletown (18-4), Walkersville (13-8) and Century (17-5).

"This is a very competitive region where you will have to bring your 'A' game every night," said North coach Barry Brown. "You play one game at a time and hopefully we'll come out on the winners' side."

Walkersville, Middletown and Century would like to have something to say about it, but if the top two seeds advanced, North would lock horns with Winters Mill for the West title on March 7.

In the girls 1A West (East sectional), three games will be played on Friday in Washington County - Catoctin at Smithsburg, Williamsport at Brunswick and Clear Spring at Boonsboro. Poolesville (16-5) was given the top seed in the East sectional.

Williamsport (16-3) is the highest seed of any Washington County school in 1A or 2A.

The Wildcats have the No. 1 spot in the West Region (East sectional) and have an open date until March 4 when they'll host the Smithsburg-Boonsboro winner, which will be played on Saturday.

Other first-round games Saturday include Clear Spring at Catoctin in the East sectional and Hancock at Mountain Ridge in the West sectional.

"Things pretty much ended as I expected they would if there was a seeding process except for Brunswick and Poolesville," said Williamsport coach Scott Mowbray. "Right now, we've just got to bring our level of play back up to where it was. It can be 'one and done' any night in the playoffs."

In the boys 2A West Region, South Hagerstown will be in action on Saturday at home against Clarksburg while North Hagerstown travels to Liberty, a team the Hubs beat in overtime last Thursday.

Times for all games are to be announced by the schools. Some dates set by the MPSSAA may be tentative since schools also have the option of combining boys and girls games into doubleheaders.

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