Boys State Basketball Semifinals

March 12, 2009

(All games at Comcast Center,

University of Maryland)

Class 3A

No. 12 Atholton (23-3)

vs. Friendly (23-3)

When: Today, 3 p.m.

Outlook: The Howard County champion Raiders have relied on stingy defense and balanced scoring to reach the state semifinals for the first time since 1982. Senior C Arthur Hairston averages 14 points and eight rebounds to lead the way, followed by junior F Matthew Robinson (11 ppg) and senior G Shane Brown (10 ppg). Atholton's primary attention will be on Friendly senior G A.J. Thomas, who averages 23 points, six assists and five rebounds. The Prince George's County school has won three state titles, the most recent in 2004.

The Baltimore Sun's pick: Friendly

Class 3A

No. 1 Lake Clifton (26-0)

vs. Seneca Valley (22-3)

When: Today, 5 p.m.

Outlook: The Lakers are playoff-tested after a 56-54 win over Baltimore County champion Milford Mill in the North regional title game Friday. The key to the team's undefeated run has been its hard work on defense and offensive versatility. Junior F Will Barton (18 ppg, 10 rpg) and senior F Cleveland Melvin (17 ppg, 11 rpg) pose matchup challenges, and guards Antonio Barton and Jason Sharp bring fine perimeter games. Seneca Valley has its share of firepower with senior G Jon Velez and sophomore F Jordan Goodman averaging 18 points, and senior G Bruce Massey is good for 17 points a game.

The Baltimore Sun's pick: Lake Clifton

Class 4A

Springbrook (25-0)

vs. No. 5 Walbrook (23-3)

When: Tonight, 9

Outlook: Walbrook will have its hands full against the defending state champion Blue Devils, who have won 34 straight games and seek their fourth state title. The Warriors must be in top form. Junior G-F Roscoe Smith (21 ppg, 11 rpg) is the starting point. Senior G Donte Stuckey (15.2 ppg) must also perform if the Warriors plan to advance. Senior F Jamal Olasewere and a deep, talented backcourt lead Springbrook. The Blue Devils have outscored their opponents by a 20-point margin this season.

The Baltimore Sun's pick: Springbrook

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