Amourie Porter had big plans for Glen Burnie’s girls basketball team from the minute she stepped on campus as a freshman.
The Gophers didn’t win a single game the year before, but the talented 5-10 combo guard spurned every private school offer to stay home and try to build a winner.
And what a winner the Gophers became.
On March 10, Amourie and her teammates hoisted the first state championship trophy in program history. She led the way to a 63-60 victory over Winston Churchill in the Class 4A final with 18 points, 15 rebounds, two assists and four steals.
The No. 5 Gophers finished 24-2 to cap a stellar career for The Baltimore Banner/VSN 2022-23 Girls Basketball Player of the Year.
Amourie, who is headed to Cal State Bakersfield, scored 1,337 points despite playing just three seasons because COVID-19 cancelled her sophomore season. She averaged 19.1 points, 10.6 rebounds, 4.5 assists and 4.2 steals as the Gophers went 58-12.
The Gophers finished 12-9 her freshman year and 22-1 last year with their first state semifinal appearance since 1983.
“She’s a builder,” said Sam Porter, Gophers coach and Amourie’s father. “She loves the challenge. I can clearly say she gets that from me. When people say you can’t do something it’s ‘Okay, I can do that.’ She just took on the challenge like, ‘I can go to these private schools, but the way people dog Glen Burnie out, I’m going to go to Glen Burnie … so I can put Glen Burnie on the map.’”
This winter, Amourie averaged 20.6 points, 11.4 rebounds, 3.7 assists and 5.5 steals per game. She also shot 63 percent from the floor and 46 percent from 3-point range. She led the Gophers in all of those statistics except assists.
“Her confidence was really high this year,” Old Mill coach Henry Fuller said. “The confidence, the skills and the IQ for the game made her a problem for a lot of teams. I’ve always said athleticism can only get you so far, but when you have all three of those, that’s the recipe to be great and she has all three, confidence, skill and basketball IQ.”
Amourie had two of her best performances this winter in match-ups with Top 10 teams. Against No. 2 St. Frances, she scored 23 points and the Gophers were within two points with two-and-a-half minutes left before falling, 59-53. In the Public vs. Private Challenge, she scored 32 in a 61-56 loss to No. 7 Mercy. She also scored 16 in the 37-34 county championship win over Severna Park.
For the second year in a row, the Anne Arundel County coaches selected Amourie as their Player of the Year. She led the Gophers to their second straight county title and the first state title by a county team since Arundel in 2010. She also earned MVP honors for her North team at the Anne Arundel County Senior All-Star Basketball Classic.
“I thought, first, that she was the best player in the county by far,” South River coach Mike Zivik said, “but I actually also thought she was the most improved player. I think that speaks volumes to her work ethic, how hard she works, how hard she wants it. I think if she didn’t improve to where she was this year, they would not have won the state championship.”
Zivik said Amourie improved in every aspect of the game as she showed in the state final when her shot wasn’t falling. She hit just three of 16 field goal attempts but shot 12-for-16 from the free throw line and contributed in many other ways.
“That’s always the mark of a great player,” Zivik said. “I’ve been lucky to coach one or two of them, but they only come around so often and when the game’s not going their way, they find other ways to impact it. That’s the other part — her mental game was just stronger.”
Sam Porter agreed.
“Amourie understands that points don’t always dictate how effective you can be in a game,” he said. “Doing the little things — the rebounding, the talking, the communication on defense, putting people in position, getting on the floor for a loose ball — she realizes that doing all the little things have more impact on the game than one individual trying to score all the points.”
Even with the accolades she garnered last season, Amourie said she couldn’t rest on those laurels. That’s just not her.
“Every time I step on that floor, it’s not about me, it’s about the community,” she said. “That’s the whole reason I came here and if I go out there all nonchalant? I’m representing Glen Burnie and I don’t want people to get that message when they see me on the floor, but what else helps me keep going is I play with a chip on my shoulder and it’s not about now, it’s about the future.
“In college, I may not be the best player, but I may be the best defensive player or I might be the most vocal player. There’s always room to be better and that’s what goes through my mind a lot of the time. Right now, I’m not at my peak and you shouldn’t be at your peak right now, so I’m just going to keep working, keep working, keep working.”
A basketball player since she was 5, Amourie will carry that philosophy to Bakersfield, a program she was drawn to by a force she doesn’t fully understand. She took a while to commit, looking at other programs, but she couldn’t cross the Roadrunners off her list. She liked the coach and the campus as well as the chance to try to help the 8-23 Roadrunners build a winning program.
“I think that’s kind of my purpose. I don’t know. There’s something that drew me to it, so I went with it. God has a purpose for everything. Everything happens for a certain reason, so I’m going to stick with it,” said Amourie, who has a 3.9 GPA.
If she gets the chance to play beyond college, she would probably like to play overseas. Growing up in a military family, she’s lived around the United States, moving to Maryland in seventh grade from Alaska, but she’s never been abroad.
“After college, if I can, I think I want to travel the world a little bit.”