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Previewing area teams in the MPSSAA boys basketball state semifinals

All games at Maryland’s Xfinity Center

Thursday

Class 3A

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NO. 2 POLY (20-5) vs. NO. 13 C. MILTON WRIGHT (20-5)

Time: 3 p.m.

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Outlook: The two-time defending state champion Engineers have a wealth of big-game experience and go-to players in their bid to make it three straight state crowns. Point guard Rahim Ali has been instrumental in the past two titles, forward Justin Lewis is a dominant inside presence who starred in last year’s title game, and transfer forward Brandon Murray (29 points in Friday’s 69-54 win at St. Charles for the South Region title) has been a huge addition. C. Milton Wright, which claimed a 53-46 win over Woodlawn for the North Region crown, will lean on forward Brye Hopkins and center Corey Patterson to slow down the Engineers. The Mustangs, who won their only state title in 2016 and are making their third tournament appearance in five years, have limited opponents to under 55 points per game this season.

NO. 12 RESERVOIR (17-8) vs. THOMAS JOHNSON (20-5)

Time: 5 p.m.

Outlook: All season, the Gators have relied on a solid team with balanced scoring, but they enter Thursday’s state semifinal with one player on a significant roll — Josh Odunowo. In Friday’s South Region final against Northeast, the senior forward poured in a career-high 29 points — including 25 in the second half — and added 23 rebounds and five blocks as the Gators pulled away for a 70-56 win. Thomas Johnson, a 55-51 winner over Magruder for the West Region title, has much the same balanced makeup. In Friday’s win, senior forward JR Powe stepped up with a big defensive rebound and two free throws in the closing seconds to finish with 15 points. Reservoir’s only other state tournament appearance came in 2013, while the Patriots have won seven state titles (last one in 1999) and are making their second straight trip to the semifinals.

Class 4A

NO. 9 DULANEY (22-3) vs. ELEANOR ROOSEVELT (23-3)

Time: 7 p.m.

Outlook: A breakthrough at last for the Lions, who reached the state tournament for the first time since 1977 with a 70-68 gut-check win over Springbrook for the North Region crown. Sophomore point guard Ryan Conway, who scored 30 points in Friday’s win, is the floor leader with plenty of surrounding talent in Che Evans, Ike Cornish and Cam Byers. Another difficult assignment comes Thursday against Prince George’s County power Roosevelt, ranked No. 6 by The Washington Post. The Raiders, who won the South Region with a 65-41 win over High Point, are led by Cameron Brown and Jaamir Butler. They are playing in their tenth state tournament with their last appearance in 2016 resulting in the program’s third state title. The Lions knocked off two-time defending champion Perry Hall in the region’s section final after the Gators eliminated them by one point last season.

NO. 10 BROADNECK (20-5) vs. RICHARD MONTGOMERY (26-1)

Time: 9 p.m.

Outlook: The Bruins are making their first state tournament appearance since 1995 coming off their best game of the season, dominating Anne Arundel rival Meade, 78-47, in Friday’s East Region title game. Seniors Che Colbert (22 points) and Jamar Young (20) led the way with junior Logan Vican adding 10 points. The strong parity in Anne Arundel and the East Region this season should have them well-prepared for state play. Richard Montgomery, which claimed the West region with a 55-51 win over Walter Johnson on Saturday, should be ready as well. The Rockets come in on a 10-game winning streak and have won eight games by five points or fewer. They are making their sixth state tournament and first since 1967, with their only championship coming in 1966.

Friday

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NO. 6 LAKE CLIFTON (22-4) vs. DOUGLASS-PG (20-4)

Time: 3 p.m.

Outlook: The Lakers, who won last year’s Class 2A state title and are going for the program’s sixth, enter state play prepared for anything. On their way to claiming the North Region, they had to grind out a 62-60 win over Baltimore City rival Dunbar and then got a confidence boost when they trounced Randallstown, 89-66, in Friday’s region final. Senior guard-forward Armon Harried has taken his play to the next level in the postseason, averaging 28 points in the three region wins and hitting the game-winning basket against Dunbar with four seconds left. Junior guard Michael Gray also consistently delivers on offense, and the Lakers rely on strong defense and efficient rebounding. Douglass comes into play a winner of 13 straight as the South champion, primed by a challenging Prince George’s County schedule. The Eagles, who won titles in 1963 and 1966, are making their sixth tournament appearance and first since 2009.

NO. 1 PATTERSON (23-3) vs. THOMAS STONE (22-4)

Time: 7 p.m.

Outlook: The Baltimore City champion Clippers are battle-tested with wins over No. 2 Poly and No. 5 Lake Clifton, both state champions last year who also reached the state tournament this season. In Friday’s 58-49 win over Edmondson, a rematch of the city title game, Patterson clamped down on defense and got 21 points from standout forward Marvin Price to advance. Price and guard Gerard Mungo were key members on the 2017 state championship team with transfer forward Jalen Willis and guard Zach Blackwell also instrumental this season. Thomas Stone, whose only state title came in 1972, is making its first state tournament since 2012. The Cougars have a go-to player in senior forward Gary Grant, who scored 30 points in Friday’s 69-60 win over Oakland Mills for the South Region title.

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