Class 3A state girls’ basketball semifinals

When: Thursday

Where: Retriever Activities Center, University of Maryland-Baltimore County

Westlake (18-7) vs. No. 12 River Hill (21-4)

Time: 7 p.m.

Path to the RAC

Westlake defeated Potomac (68-27), Chopticon (52-35) and Friendly (58-49) to win South Region; River Hill defeated James M. Bennett (61-4), Annapolis (51-40) and Howard (46-33) to win East Region

Team leaders

Scoring: Westlake-Tejahne Malone (24 points per game); River Hill-Alauna Jackson (13 ppg.)

Rebounds: Westlake-Malone (19.4 rpg.); River Hill-Jackson (8.2 rpg.)

Assists: Westlake-Alyssa Fort (8.2 apg); River Hill-Megan Sterling (2.9 apg.)

Steals: Westlake-Malone (3.2 spg); River Hill-Megan Sterling (77 total steals)

Blocked shots: Westlake-Malone (3 bpg.); River Hill-Jackson (46 total blocks)

Outlook

After a rare down season in 2010-11, River Hill rebounded this winter and is back in the state Final Four. The Hawks avenged a regular season loss to Howard and ended the Lions’ reign as East Region champ in the finals last week.

The Clarksville school led by as many as 15 points as Jenna Collins had 13 points and nine rebounds and Alauna Jackson added 11 points. Jackson, a transfer from Howard, will play for Morgan State University next season.

Westlake secured its first state Final Four berth since 2005, scoring the game’s final 10 points to win at Prince George’s County Friendly in the region title game. Tejahne “T.J.” Malone and Kim Brown combined for 42 points for the southern Maryland program.

The Wolverines have yet to reach a state title game in prior four trips to UMBC. River Hill reached the 3A state finals in 2009, losing to City College in overtime.

Coach Speak

Westlake coach Jackson on River Hill:  “We know we’re going to be in for a battle on Thursday. [Waters] has been here plenty of times and she knows how to have her teams prepare for these games.”

River Hill coach Teresa Waters on Westlake:”I have not seen much film on Westlake, but I plan to watch quite a bit this week. I know they’re solid. We have to play our best in order to get through [to Saturday’s final].”

By the numbers

77: Total points allowed by River Hill in region playoffs

14: Consecutive games Tejahne Malone has scored 20 or more points

286: Career victories for River Hill coach Teresa Waters

96: Rebounds by River Hill in region playoffs

5: Combined losses by Westlake to state semifinalists North Point (4A) and Calvert (2A)

0: State Final Four victories by Westlake

bri jones and takiara fowkles

No. 1 Aberdeen (25-1) vs. Frederick (20-5)

Time: 9 p.m.

Path to the RAC

Aberdeen defeated Franklin (72-41), Digital Harbor (67-41) and Milford Mill Academy (84-66) to win North Region; Frederick defeated Rockville (68-21), Urbana (69-47) and Damascus (60-59) to win West Region

Team leaders

Scoring: Aberdeen-Bri Jones (23 ppg.); Frederick-Lauren Tolson (27 ppg.)

Rebounding: Aberdeen-Jones (11 rpg.); Frederick-Tolson (7 rpg.)

Assists: Aberdeen-Kierra Palmer (5 apg.); Frederick-Tolson (3 apg.)

Steals: Aberdeen-Nia Alleyne (72 total steals); Frederick-Tolson (3 spg.)

Outlook

No. 1 Aberdeen crosses path again with Frederick. The Cadets ruined the Harford County school’s hopes of a title with a 76-71 decision in last year’s 3A state finale.

The Eagles have been motivated by that loss, dominating through the regular season. Led by arguably the area’s top player in 6-foot-3 junior post Bri Jones, Aberdeen won all but one game by single-digits including victories over No. 7 Digital Harbor and previously unbeaten Milford Mill in region play last week.

Frederick overcame a 19-point first half deficit before taking down Montgomery County’s Damascus in overtime for the West Region crown. Lauren Tolson scored 24 of her game-high 28 points in the second half.

Tolson, who will play for the University of Richmond next year, was a huge reason the Cadets outlasted Aberdeen in last year’s title game. The 5-foot-7 guard had 24 points and nine rebounds, playing with a taped up right knee after a colliding with an Aberdeen player late in the first half.

Coach Speak

Aberdeen coach Stacy Liles on Frederick:  “We have to do a good job of getting out on their shooters. Brionna can take care of the inside game, but we have to get out on the perimeter and defend those shooters. We have to stay out of foul trouble.”

Frederick coach Keivette Hammond on Aberdeen: “We know how good Aberdeen is. We’ve seen them on film more than a few times. [Jones] is obviously tough for anyone to defend. We’re going to have to play good defense against her and we’ll have to be patient.”

By the numbers

5: Margin of victory by Aberdeen over Virginia’s Western Branch, the Eagles’ only single-digit victory this season

8: Consecutive postseason victories by Frederick

7: VSN’s Top 20 teams Aberdeen defeated  this season

31: Average margin of victory by Aberdeen this season

5: Frederick games decided by five points or less

43: Season high scored by Lauren Tolson this season