Top seeds take root for shot at title

February 23, 2011|By TIM KOELBLE |

HAGERSTOWN — The second season is about to begin in high school basketball with two Washington County boys teams holding No. 1 seeds.

Whether Williamsport and South Hagerstown can end the season as No. 1 in the state remains to be seen, but the Wildcats and Rebels start the path toward that goal as the Maryland State tournament begins Friday.

Williamsport (19-3) is the top dog in the Class 1A West East Section and South Hagerstown (17-3) got the top spot in the 3A West. Both have first-round byes with their No. 1 seeds and will wait until Monday to play against first-round survivors.

The first-round bye affords a few extra days of rest or work, something Williamsport coach Scott Mowbray welcomes.

“You’re happy with the No. 1 seed and it gives us a few extra days in the gym to work out some kinks that we’ve struggled with over the last eight, 10 days,” said Mowbray.

The Wildcats will host Friday’s Oakdale-Manchester Valley winner.

“Three weeks ago, I would have said the layoff would be bad, but it could be beneficial for us,” said Mowbray. “We just need to get back to our old selves, distributing the basketball and getting out and run.”

South Hagerstown coach Kevin Naylor will be watching Northwood (11-10) and Clarksburg (13-8) battle on Friday. The winner comes to Hagerstown on Monday for a quarterfinal matchup.

“We’re happy with the top seed, but right now it really doesn’t matter who you play,” said Naylor. “I like the bracket we’re in.”

Should the Rebels reach the region finals, they could face No. 3 seed Frederick should the Cadets get out of the shadow of Quince Orchard.

In Class 2A, North Hagerstown (14-5) drew the No. 3 seed and will host the winner of Friday’s game between Middletown and Walkersville.

“In this region, no matter who you play it is going to be a tough team,” said North coach Kevin Hartman.

Middletown and Walkersville split their season series and Middletown also defeated North in the regular season.

Other Friday 1A West East Section games include Smithsburg at Catoctin and Boonsboro at Brunswick. In the West Section, Clear Spring visits Hancock.

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