As Carroll basketball teams prepare for the regional playoffs that tip off this Friday, two of those teams have a little longer to wait for their turn to play.

For Century's boys and Manchester Valley's girls, which both earned first-round byes, their coaches said the break is beneficial.

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"For us, it's an opportunity to reflect on the things we need to work on to continue to get better," Mavericks coach Heather DeWees said. "Review film, specific things to use that time for. It's also an opportunity for our girls' bodies to heal up to get ready for things they acquire over the course of the season. We're still going to do routine practices and keep our drills and the things we do daily because I don't want them to lose that groove. Even though it's 10 days, it seems like a long time but we're still watching film and doing what we would do any other week to keep them in basketball shape."

The Mavericks (22-0) secured their second consecutive county championship in late January. Then DeWees' squad captured another piece of history this season.

With their 48-36 win over New Town last Friday, the Mavs became the second Carroll girls hoops team to go undefeated in a regular season. Winters Mill was first to do so in 2007-2008.

If Westminster (14-8) wins its Class 3A West Section 1 quarterfinal Friday against Oakdale, the Owls' next opponent will be Man Valley. A playoff meeting would mark the fourth time this season those county rivals face each other.

"You don't normally play a basketball team four times," DeWees said. "You might see that happen at North Carolina in the ACC tournament or the regular season but that's so rare for high school basketball. At this point, it doesn't matter who were are playing, it's one game at a time for us. Whoever we have on our plate, we want to make sure we prepare for that specific team."

Carroll has 12 teams set to play Friday night, and five games featuring intra-county matchups.

In 2A West Section 2 quarterfinal girls action, Francis Scott Key (12-9) hosts Century (1-21) while Winters Mill (10-12) hosts South Carroll (7-15). The Eagles beat Century twice during the regular season, and the Falcons did the same against the Cavaliers — thanks to a buzzer-beating 3-pointer in their second meeting Jan. 24.

On the 2A West boys side, Liberty (12-9) hosts Winters Mill (2-20) while FSK (11-11) hosts South Carroll (5-17) in Section 2 quarterfinals.

The Lions swept the Falcons and Key topped SC both times.

Westminster (14-8) hosts Man Valley (8-14) in a 3A West Section 1 quarterfinal. The Owls and Mavs split their regular-season series.

Century's boys closed out the regular season with 17 straight wins and an undefeated county record. The Knights (19-2) played in a scrimmage against Thomas Johnson on Tuesday to give them a chance to stay fresh amid a two-week break before their first playoff game tips off. Century, which last played Feb. 14 against South Carroll, was scheduled to play Aberdeen last Friday, but the game was canceled.

The county champion Knights await the winner of a 2A West Section 2 quarterfinal between Oakland Mills and Marriotts Ridge in a sectional semifinal next Tuesday.

"We're really using it as a time to give them some rest," Knights coach George Wunder said. "Keep everybody healthy and ready to go. We're trying to get a lot of shooting in and working on the fundamentals to stay sharp, working on our skills. Being able to practice with someone besides yourself is helpful and we're really spending time refining and getting ready for that first game."

Wunder said changes in a team's vibe as playoffs approach all depend on that season's specific team. Whether nerves kick in early or not for a while is hard to wager as players come in and out each year.

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Regardless, Wunder said the the Knights will be prepared when it's their turn to take the court.

"My group, we're focusing with nine seniors and they're pretty focused so there's no need to motivate them a whole lot," Wunder said. "They have their goals in mind of what they want to accomplish and winning that first playoff game is the first step. That's where the focus is and the guys are getting prepared for that first game.

"Having seniors who have been through this before, the playoff experience helps that. Zach [Tucker], Chris [Norman], Adam [Rolfes], some of our guys, they help us stay focused on what we're trying to accomplish by trying to accumulate game-like practices to keep them as competitive as they can be."

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Friday's games

Boys Basketball

Class 2A West Section 2 quarterfinal

Winters Mill at Liberty, 6:30

South Carroll at Francis Scott Key, 7:30

Class 3A West Section 1 quarterfinal

Manchester Valley at Westminster, 7

Girls Basketball

Class 2A West Section 2 quarterfinal

Liberty at Oakland Mills, 5

Century at Francis Scott Key, 5:30

South Carroll at Winters Mill, 6

Class 3A West Section 1 quarterfinal

Westminster at Oakdale, 5:30



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