BURTONSVILLE - Watching the final stages of her team’s Class 4A girls basketball state semifinal victory Tuesday night from an unfamiliar position on the bench, it would be understandable if Glen Burnie High guard Amourie Porter felt compelled to belt out a few chords from the Beatles song “With A Little Help,” specifically the line that goes, “Oh I get by with a little help from my friend.”
Or, in this case, a lot of help from her teammates as the do-everything Gophers backcourt performer was hampered much of Tuesday’s clash with fellow Anne Arundel County foe Severna Park by a combination of foul trouble and hawkish defense by the Falcons at Paint Branch High School.
Not to worry, however, as senior guard Lania Nick poured in 12 points, senior forward Aichatta Soumaoro produced 10 points, 17 rebounds, and seven blocks, and senior guard Cassidy Wilkerson chipped in nine points, including seven in the second half as Glen Burnie booked its spot in Friday’s 8 p.m. state final at the University of Maryland with a 45-28 decision at Paint Branch.
“They stepped up to the plate,” said Gophers coach Sam Porter of his squad, which included tenacious defense from Trinity Munford. “I told them that they could play on this level. Just when the opportunity produces itself, you’ve just got to do it. You can’t shy away from it. If you shy away from it, you fail.
“As I told them in the locker room, Amourie didn’t have her best game. She didn’t have her best game and that comes with the territory. You’re not always going to have your best game. That’s why we had 11 other players. So when you go out there, you do what you’re great at. That takes care of everything else.”
Glen Burnie (23-2 overall), in its first state title game, will play Montgomery County’s Winston Churchill for the title at Xfinity Center. Churchill ended No. 9 Western’s reign as state champs, 61-44, in the first semifinal contest at Paint Branch.
The Doves, down 12-8 after one-quarter of play, used a quick 7-0 to start the second quarter on back-to-back 3-pointers by Maya Gray (13 points) and Jaden Hunt (18 points) and a free throw by Breasia Coit to take a 15-12 lead with 6:40 left in the second quarter.
That lead was short-lived as numerous turnovers (seven in the second quarter) along with the combined scoring of Churchill’s Chelsea Calkins (20 points) and Dillan George (23 points) helped the Bulldogs (24-3) outscore Western (18-6), 49-29, the rest of the way.
Churchill gained complete control of the contest with a 15-5 third quarter for a commanding 44-26 lead.
Western defeated Churchill in last year’s state quarterfinals en route to its first state title in nearly 30 years.
There won’t be a repeat.
“I just think we weren’t on the same page,” Doves coach Tasha Townsend said. “I’m telling the girls one thing; they’re doing something different…it was a lot of miscommunication. It wasn’t even the defense. It wasn’t something we haven’t seen. It was just our own carelessness.
We tried to work off of that. The last couple of games, even though we won, those turnovers were still a factor. This time it just hurt. It’s disappointing, but we got far. I know they could have finished this.”
The Northwest Baltimore school struggled to adjust to the constant double-teaming of Coit (13 points, 15 rebounds, three blocks). Western players seemed tentative to shoot, passing up open looks from the perimeter in favor of forced passes inside to Coit or forced deep shot attempts as the shot clock ticked to zero.
“When they double team, we have to learn how to make adjustments for next season, so when they double me, it leaves somebody open,” Coit said. “Our team has to realize that sooner, so it doesn’t affect us in the long run.”
By the time Western made those crucial adjustments, hitting five 3-pointers in the fourth, Churchill had a large enough cushion.
“We had two different formations to try to bottle up (Coit),” Churchill coach Pete McMahon said. “One is a 3-2 and the other is a diamond-and-one. We only had one day to work on it, but the kids did amazing. We gave up more threes than we thought we would, but the plan was to stop (Coit). . . . It worked out.”
In a rematch of the Anne Arundel County title match, Glen Burnie used defense and some timely hoops to limit the Falcons (21-6) to just eight field goals for the game. Glen Burnie’s smothering defense held the Falcons to just four points in the second quarter to open up a commanding 22-10 halftime lead that grew to 16, 34-18, heading into the final eight minutes of action.
In that pivotal third quarter, Porter picked up her fourth foul with 4 minutes, 24 remaining on a charge. Porter observed Nick explode for nine straight points on four straight free throws, a layup in transition of a nifty pass from Wilkerson, and a 3-pointer from just inside the halfcourt Panthers logo in the waning seconds of the quarter.
“I knew with her having to come off, I knew I had to step up a little bit more because at first I wasn’t playing my best,” Nick said. “I’ll give that, but then just feeding off everybody else’s energy. Her coming off and then everybody picking each other up, (Nick) just fed off that.”
The Falcons would get no closer than 12 points, falling to Glen Burnie for the third time this season. Severna Park got its first state semifinal berth since 1988 on a buzzer-beating shot from near half court Friday at Frederick County’s Urbana.
“We just didn’t do a good job attacking in the first half,” Falcons coach Kristofer Dean said. “We had to make those adjustments at halftime. I thought we did a much better job in the second half attacking, but it seemed like every time we pulled to within eight, they’d hit a step-back three or whatever it might be. He’s got a great squad over there. They’re a tough team.”
CLASS 4A STATE SEMIFINALS
at Paint Branch
CHURCHILL 61, NO. 9 WESTERN 44
Western 8 13 5 18 - 44
Churchill 12 17 15 17 - 61
Western - Breasia Coit 13, Jaden Hunt 18, Maya Gray 13. Totals: 15 6-14 44.
Churchill - Dillan George 23, Chelsea Calkins 20, Miranda Hill 2, Allison Coleman 9, Ruby Siegal 5, Elise Huang 2. Totals: 20 15-21 61.
NO. 7 GLEN BURNIE 45, SEVERNA PARK 28
Severna Park 6 4 8 10 - 28
Glen Burnie 15 7 12 11 - 45
Severna Park - Abby Kavanagh 9, Karli Kirchenheiter 4, Lilly Spilker 2, Charley Coward 4, Hanna Verrault 2, Maria Bragg 7. Totals: 8 11-29 28.
Glen Burnie - Aichatta Soumaoro 10, Lania Nick 12, Amourie Porter 12, Trinity Munford 2, Cassidy Wilkerson 9. Totals: 13 15-27 45.