Six Baltimore-area teams will be among the 16 state semifinalists headed to Towson University's SECU Areana for the girls state basketball tournament beginning Wednesday.
State semifinals will be held on Wednesday and Thursday this year because of a gymnastics event that was already scheduled for Friday when officials opted to move the tournament after 20 years at UMBC's RAC Arena.
Two defending state champions remain in the field -- three-time defending Class 2A champion Calvert and 4A champion North Point.
Of the local teams in the field, Dunbar and Milford Mill aim to add to their previous state titles while Poly, Patterson Mill, New Town and National Academy Foundation are looking for their first titles.
Dunbar, a state finalist in Class 1A last year but now in 2A, has won six state titles and with seven, would tie Mount Hebron and DuVal for the most championships in girls state tournament history. The Poets, who won four straight titles between 2000 and 2003 also won in 2011 and 2012. Their first two titles were in Class 2A with the last four in 1A.
Milford Mill, ranked No. 4 in The Baltimore Sun's Top 15, won its only title in 2005, but the Millers are in the final four for the tenth time. Only once have they not made it to the semifinals.
No. 2 Poly is in the state tournament for the fifth time. After making the semifinals in 2012, they reached the Class 4A final last season. They are now in Class 3A.
No. 10 Patterson Mill is in the Class 2A semifinals for the third straight time, having fallen to eventual champ Calvert the last two years.
New Town has been in the semifinals three previous times, but this is their first trip to states since 2007. The Titans had to forfeit their 2005 Class 1A title for using an ineligible player.
National Academy Foundation, a Baltimore City school located in the former Dunbar Middle School building in East Baltimore, is in the state tournament for the first time. The school has been competing in the city league for only four years.
Tickets are $8 at the door and can be purchased in advance. For more information about tickets go to the MPSSAA web site. Parking is free.
Following is the schedule for the girls state basketball tournament:
Southern-Garrett vs. Mardela, 3
NAF vs. New Town, 5
Dunbar vs. Calvert, 7
Patterson Mill vs. Dunbar, 9