February is here, and the county’s high school sports scene continues to warm up.
This week brings a few intriguing matchups that will go a long way in determining Carroll County Athletic League champions, so let’s take a look at what to watch for around the area.
The county title is up for grabs Monday night when Winters Mill (19-1, 4-1 CCAL) visits South Carroll (18-2, 5-0). The Falcons are the two-time reigning champs, and they can still earn a piece of the crown despite losing to Manchester Valley (36-2, 5-1) back in early December.
The Mavericks lost to the Cavaliers, but they can share the county title three ways if Winters Mill beats SC on Monday. All three county foes will have defeated one another in that scenario, so a tiebreaker wouldn’t be available.
The Cavs can win the outright county crown with a victory. They last won a county championship in 2017, the third of three consecutive titles.
South Carroll edged Man Valley 34-30 on Jan. 23 in a dual meet that came down to the final bout. The Mavericks downed Winters Mill 44-18 on Decc. 10.
The regular season is winding down, and the annual county tournament is set for Feb. 22 at Westminster High School. But there’s still team accomplishments at stake before that — Manchester Valley, South Carroll, and Winters Mill appear to be in good shape to qualify for the upcoming regional dual-meet tournaments.
The Mavericks are in Class 3A East, and the Cavs and Falcons in 2A West. Regional tournaments are set for Feb. 12, and winners move onto the state duals Feb. 15 at North Point High School in Waldorf.
Man Valley hosts Marriotts Ridge on Feb. 6 in a match that should determine the top seed in 3A East, and the right to host the regional dual-meet tournament. South Carroll and Winters Mill are both in the mix for a spot in 2A West, and their match Monday is also pivotal for regional positioning.
First place in the CCAL standings is on the line Tuesday when Westminster (14-4, 8-0) hosts Century (14-2, 8-1). The Owls have a win over the Knights already, 52-46 on Jan. 8 in Eldersburg.
Westminster overcame a six-point deficit and used a strong defense to net the win. The Owls did their part in forcing Century into a poor 3-point shooting performance (5-for-31).
A Century win would create a tie for first place in the county.
The Knights host South Carroll on Friday, and have Liberty on Feb. 14 in their CCAL finale. Westminster, meanwhile, finishes with Liberty on Friday, South Carroll on Feb. 11, and city rival Winters Mill on Feb. 14.
It’s a two-team race for the county title here as well, with Westminster (11-6, 7-1 CCAL) atop the standings and Liberty (10-5, 6-2) close behind. The Lions visit the Owls on Friday in their second meeting of the regular season.
Westminster defeated Liberty 50-46 in Eldersburg on Jan. 10 behind 16 points from Maddie Olexy and 12 from Lillian Harris. But the Lions have won four in a row after losing back-to-back games against Westminster and Manchester Valley.
Liberty senior forward Rachel Thiem last week joined the 1,000-point club when she became the fifth player in program history to reach that mark. Thiem led the Lions past Winters Mill in that game with 11 points, and teammate Jordan Nastos nearly collected her second triple-double in as many games.
Nastos finished with 14 points, 12 rebounds, and nine assists against the Falcons.
Liberty visits South Carroll on Tuesday before facing Westminster, and hosts Man Valley on Feb. 10. Then it’s a road game at Century in Feb. 14 in the Lions’ county finale.