GIRLS BASKETBALL STATE SEMIFINALS

The Baltimore Sun

Class 1A

Digital Harbor (19-6) vs. Pocomoke (25-1)

(All games at RAC Arena, UMBC)

When -- Today, 3 p.m.

Outlook -- The Rams are celebrating the first trip to states in school history. Even before the school was converted from Southern to Digital Harbor, the girls had never been to the state tournament. Pocomoke, however, is a regular at the tournament, making its sixth straight trip, but the Warriors have yet to win a title. Along with their tournament experience, the Warriors have overall experience; two seniors and a junior are among their top four players. The Rams are still young with two sophomores and a freshman as their top three. Still, experience isn't everything, and the Rams have been aiming for states all season. They knocked out three-time defending regional champ New Town on the road in the region final. Asia Logan, a 6-foot-1 forward-guard, leads the Rams with 17 points and 12 rebounds, while 5-3 G Nikki Groom (11 points, 6 assists) had a terrific regional playoff run. The Warriors are led by 5-7 F Ashley Bishop (13.5 points, 5.5 rebounds) and 5-4 G Deyonna Parker (11.3 points, 5.2 assists).

The Sun's pick -- Pocomoke to win this game and the state title.

Class 2A

No. 12 Poly (20-5) vs. Wicomico (20-5)

When -- Today, 7 p.m.

Outlook -- The Engineers reached the final four for the first time in school history last season, but they had trouble holding onto the basketball. Southern's pressure defense rattled Poly into 45 turnovers and beat the Engineers, 63-53. It's no surprise that one of coach Kendall Peace's main objectives is to take better care of the ball this time, especially against an aggressive Indians squad from Salisbury. The Engineers proved they can play with anyone in Friday night's regional final upset of then-No. 7 City. Led by a trio of strong guards - 5-7 Breonna Brewer (11.5 points), 5-7 Cynthia Johnson (10.3) and 5-6 Shenika Johnson (10.5) - the Engineers have quickness, height and power. The two teams played in the same Christmas tournament, but did not meet and Indians coach Willie Downing said both play a similar defensive game. The Indians, in their first trip to the final four since 1992, have balanced scoring but not as much height as Poly - though they average 17 more rebounds per game. Guard TaSha Ward leads the Indians with 10.9 points while 5-9 C Ariel Duffy adds 9.4 points and 9.7 rebounds.

The Sun's pick -- Poly.

No. 6 Winters Mill (25-0) vs. No. 4 Mount Hebron (26-0)

When -- Today, 9 p.m.

Outlook -- Something has to give as the metro area's only two remaining unbeaten teams meet for the right to advance to the Class 2A championship game. This will be the second trip to the semifinals for Winters Mill, which advanced to UMBC in 2005 before losing to Potomac by a point. Senior guard Jordan Neville is the lone Falcons player still around from that team. She and fellow guards Jen Peters and Cassie Cooke each average around 13 points per game, and Cooke also leads Carroll County in assists and steals. Mount Hebron, meanwhile, was a perennial state contender in the 1980s and early '90s, but hasn't reached the semifinals since 1995. The Vikings have captured six state titles in their history, including five in a six-year span from 1986 to 1991. They are paced on offense by forward Deanna Dydynski (12.2 ppg) and guard Brittany Bowen (12.1). It's on defense, however, where the Vikings have really shined, allowing just 35.5 points per game this season. The teams had one common opponent this season, Linganore, and each had little trouble putting away the Frederick County power. The winner advances to Saturday's state final against either Poly or Wicomico.

The Sun's pick -- Mount Hebron to win this game and the state title.

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