River Hill (9-2 county, 16-6 overall – No. 1 seed Section I 3A East Region)
Best Case: The fairy tale season continues and for players like Ori Clark, Jaden Martin and Jake Robinson — all which were members of the team two years ago that lost to Centennial on a buzzer beater for the region title — the run to a region championship is sweet redemption. Along the way to victories in its first two postseason games, the Hawks prove that the regular season push to a county title was no fluke. Even better, the region semifinal win over Centennial quiets any doubters about the county championship being tainted by a new format this winter, as it secures a season sweep of the Eagles. Then, in a complete contrast of styles in the region championship against Stephen Decatur, River Hill slows things down and grinds out a victory in an old-fashioned defensive battle. The dream ends in the state semifinals but River Hill basketball is officially put back on the map and, along the way, Martin solidifies his claim to being Howard County Player of the Year.