Outlook: Experience may go a long way for C. Milton Wright in the semifinal matchup against the Hurricanes from Calvert County, newcomers to the state tournament. Last season, it was the Mustangs who were new to the big tournament and all the unfamiliar excitement that comes with it. Coach Jon Stefanides has already seen a more poised team in this year's run, highlighted by a 67-58 win at Baltimore County power Woodlawn for the North Region crown. The Mustangs have a strong senior class led by guard Corey Bays, who averages 22 points and has dominated the postseason to this point. If the Hurricanes pay too close attention to Bays, others can do harm with Kyle Harkins and Chris Lorenzo quality options. The Hurricanes, who've won a program-high 21 games, are led by senior twin brothers Bryan and Brandon Easton. First-year coach Josh Pratt has Baltimore ties, having enjoyed a successful run at Towson Catholic.
No. 12 PERRY HALL (21-3) vs. ELEANOR ROOSEVELT (22-3)
Time: 7 p.m.
Outlook: Perry Hall makes its first state tournament appearance, while the Raiders from Prince George's County make it for the ninth time with their last state crown coming in 2013. The Gators are hoping to ride the strong momentum coming from their North Region championship, capped by Darrell Green's layup with four seconds left to beat Springbrook, 62-60, in Friday's title game. The Gators are young and inexperienced, but have proven to be resilient. Sophomore center Laquill Hardnett (14 points, 11.5 rebounds per game) and junior guard James Rider (14 ppg) lead the way. Roosevelt is deep and talented with versatile senior guard Naji Marshall (17 ppg, 9 rpg, 4 assists per game) the starting point.
Outlook: Two wins separate Meade and a successful defense of last year's championship. The Mustangs look primed to accomplish the feat, coming into the semifinal game on a 13-game winning streak. More importantly, they were significantly tested in claiming the East Region with three close wins that could be beneficial if they're in any close ones this weekend. All-Metro senior forward Tristan Easton, the program's leading scorer who's at 18 points per game, is the catalyst with a knack for doing whatever it takes to bring home wins. A strong and experienced cast surrounds him with senior forward Keith Duffin averaging 11 points and seven rebounds. Whitman won its only state title in 2006 and reached the title game in 2014. The Mustangs will have to keep a close watch on senior guard Shaq Dibote-Lobe, who averages 21 points for the Vikings.
Outlook: The Lakers, who fell to New Town in last year's title game, make a return trip to states with a largely new cast primed to bring home the program's fifth championship. Senior guard Kai Thompson is the only returnee to get playing time in last year's state tournament with the Lakers heavy on senior talent. This year's team was a work in progress that found its form with four wins to get out of the South Region. The Lakers are mostly young and rely on scrappy play to close out wins. Thompson, senior guard Shauntaze Drake and sophomore Rasheed Brown all average double figures in scoring with sophomore center Ronald Lucas chipping in eight points and 10 rebounds per game. The Hornets, from Prince George's County, have won four state crowns but made their last tournament appearance in 2007. They have a balanced offense with senior forward Renard Lane (14.3 ppg) leading four players averaging double figures.
Outlook: After capturing the program's second state title last year in Class 1A, New Town made the jump to 2A this season. So far, so good. The Titans claimed the Baltimore County championship and followed with the North Region crown, taking a 15-game winning streak into Friday. The Titans have made a strong commitment to coach Mike Daniel's emphasis on strong team defense, yielding only 46 points per game to opponents. The team's offense revolves around the senior guard tandem of Devin Smith and Matthew Johnson, who have combined to score 31 points per game. Gwynn Park, from Prince George's County, also leans on its defense under veteran coach Mike Glick and the Yellow Jackets feature a balanced offense with junior guard Justin Faison leading five players in double figures at 15.5 points per game.