COLLEGE PARK - Sam and Amourie Porter never stopped believing.
Four years ago, Amourie Porter, with the likes of St. Frances and St. Vincent Pallotti pursuing her, decided to take her basketball talents to Glen Burnie.
Outside of a brief run, around the time “Oriole Magic” was fervent and the Colts left Baltimore for Indianapolis, the Anne Arundel County school, in the dichotomy of area girls basketball, was an outpost.
A year after his daughter arrived, Sam Porter came to Glen Burnie as coach. Part coach, part Tony Robbins, Sam told anyone, within an earshot, that the Gophers program would become champions.
Friday evening, at Xfinity Center, validation and history spectacularly collided. No. 7 Glen Burnie defeated Montgomery County’s Winston Churchill, 43-40, in the Class 4A state title game on the University of Maryland campus.
Amourie Porter finished with 18 points and 15 rebounds for the Gophers (24-2 overall), and Lania Nick and Cassidy Wilkerson added 12 and 11 points, respectively. Dillan George led all scorers with 20 for Churchill (24-4)
In the 100th anniversary year of its opening, Glen Burnie has a state girls basketball championship for the first time. It’s the first state title in any sport for the Gophers, who hoisted a 4A state baseball trophy in 1999.
Five years ago, Glen Burnie did not win a girls basketball game.
“I came here from scratch,” said Amourie Porter with the state championship trophy next to her in the postgame press conference. “We worked, we worked, had some people leave us, had some people come in….I sacrificed, but, at the end of day, the work paid off.”
It started in the 2020-21 school year when Sam Porter became coach. There wasn’t a winter season because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but the Gophers, who were a respectable 12-9 in 2019-20, ascended last winter.
Glen Burnie went undefeated during the regular season, winning the Anne Arundel County championship, beating perennial county powerhouse Old Mill three times. The Gophers reached their first state semifinal since 1983 before losing to eventual state champion Western at Paint Branch in Montgomery County.
In the Paint Branch wrestling room that was transformed into an interview room, Sam Porter did his best Arnold Schwarzenegger impersonation.
“We’ll be back. I promise you,” he said.
Glen Burnie, which repeated as Anne Arundel champs, took the next step, defeated league rival Severna Park in the state 4A Final Four at Paint Branch Tuesday.
Friday, the Gophers completed their unlikely journey in the unlikeliest of ways. Glen Burnie trailed 33-26 with 6 minutes, 46 seconds left in regulation.
The Gophers had not made a field goal in the second half.
“The offense just got stagnant. We were playing good defense, but couldn’t convert,” said Sam Porter, whose team went 0-for-18 in the third quarter. “Third quarter we said if we could hold, we’ll take care of the fourth quarter.”
Behind three 3-pointers from Wilkerson, the last from the corner, Glen Burnie pulled even at 34 with 3:47 left. After Churchill missed the front end of a one-and-one free throw, Amourie Porter drove into the lane and scored, putting the Gophers up, 39-35.
It was 39-38 when Porter drove the lane, then passed to Aichatta Sourmaoro. Sourmaoro (13 rebounds) quickly passed to Nick on the wing. Nick drained the 3-pointer, upping Glen Burnie’s advantage to 42-38 with 37 seconds left.
Nick (four 3-pointers) and Wilkerson combined for seven 3-pointers Friday. Glen Burnie made just 10 shots (out of 61 attempts) total.
“It just was the energy from everywhere, the crowd, my teammates,” said Wilkerson, whose 3-of-8 from the field was the best among the Gopher participants Friday.
Glen Burnie led 43-39 after a Porter free throw with 17.5 seconds remaining. Churchill’s Allison Coleman was fouled with 8.7 seconds to play. Coleman hit the first, but missed the second, and Soumaoro got the rebound and was fouled with 8.7 seconds to play.
Soumaoro missed the front end of the one-and-one. Churchill got the rebound and called timeout with three seconds remaining. Churchill inbounded the ball to George, whose 3-point attempt hit the back iron.
What some thought wasn’t possible had become reality.
Glen Burnie. Girls basketball state champions.
“It means a lot…people look at Glen Burnie as not such a great school or a great area,” said Nick. “Wow, Glen Burnie state champions…it gives it a different look.”
Sam Porter beefed up the Gophers’ schedule this season, playing IAAM schools Concordia Prep, Mercy and perennial area powerhouse St. Frances. Glen Burnie pushed the eventual IAAM A finalist Panthers to the final minutes before succumbing.
Sam Porter said Friday’s championship was the culmination of hard work and support from Glen Burnie’s administration and surrounding community as well as Anne Arundel County.
The last Anne Arundel school to win a state title was Arundel (Class 4A) in 2010.
“Folks overlook Anne Arundel, it’s tough,” said Porter. “The county is young with teams full of talent.”
Now at the head of that list is Glen Burnie, which gets to hang its first girls basketball state championship inside Bogle Gym on Baltimore-Annapolis Boulevard.
“My purpose has been fulfilled,” said Amourie Porter, who’s taking her talents to the University of California-Bakersfield next season. “We finally did it…It feels so good.”
CLASS 4A STATE CHAMPIONSHIP
NO. 7 GLEN BURNIE 43, CHURCHILL 40
Churchill - George 20, Calkins 10, Coleman 8, Siegal 2. Totals 13 11-18 40.
Glen Burnie - Porter 18, Nick 12, Wilkerson 11, Soumaoro 1, Washington 1. Totals 10 16-27 43.
Churchill 7 13 10 10 - 40
Glen Burnie 9 11 6 17 - 43