After Saturday's round of MPSSAA regional girls basketball title games, only Patterson Mill was left standing, as the Huskies ran away with an 87-48 road victory over Queen Anne's in the 2A East title game.
Defending 3A champ Aberdeen was knocked out of the North regional tournament with a 80-62 loss to Milford Mill, while Havre de Grace saw its season end with a 101-13 defeat at the hands of Mardela in the 1A East final.
Patterson Mill, which has captured three straight regional crowns but never made it past the state semifinal round, will square off with 2A West champ Walkersville on Wednesday at Towson's SECU Arena.
In Saturday's romp over Queen Anne's, the Huskies (20-4) got their top performance from Qalea Ismail, who poured in 38 points. Ismail said after the game that she and her teammates are motived by having lost in the state semifinals the last two years.
"We're definitely ready for that game," she said. "We really want it. We've been to the state semifinals two years in a row and have gotten knocked out both times, so we're definitely motivated to win this time."
Three other Huskies dipped into double-digits in Saturday's victory: Sam Herman scored 16 points, Chyna Latimer had 14 and Sia Barnes scored 11 points. Khayla Mitchell posted eight points.
"If you look how our scoring was spread out, you get an idea of why this team is successful," Patterson Mill head coach Holly Ismail said. "If you try to double team or focus in on Qalea, someone else is going to be open. When you have that many scoring threats, it really spreads the court out for you. Also, we've had a lot of players injured this year, and the last few games were the first where we had everyone healthy at the same time. That's always a plus. I think we're peaking right when we should."
The 39-point victory, Holly Ismail said, came about because of the Huskies' game plan to play hard from start to finish.
"We've had every kind of game this year," she said. "We've had huge wins, some really close games and a couple of overtime losses. Because of that, our attitude is to play all-out from opening tip to the final buzzer no matter what the situation is. That's how we played tonight, and how we're going to approach the state tournament, too."
After falling to two-time defending state champion Aberdeen twice in the last two years, including the 2012 regional championship, the No. 4 Milford Mill girls basketball team got its revenge with an 80-62 victory in Saturday night's Class 3A North regional championship.
The Millers dethroned the Eagles with swarming defense, transition offense and aggressive rebounding that broke the game open late in the second half. When Dionna White finished off a 22-5 run with a layup to open the third quarter, the Millers led 40-25.
The Eagles, who had been to three straight state finals, would get no closer than nine points.
"It was basically defense and staying aggressive," Millers senior Qierra Murray said. "We know they're long and big and physical, so just like with Catonsville [in winning the Baltimore County championship] we had to rebound, rebound, rebound because we're small and we had to push, run, run, run to get them tired."
The Millers (24-1) relied on their deeper bench and also got 15 points from forward-guard Akiri Lewis. They will advance to the state semifinals for the 10th time and seek a second state title to go with their 2005 trophy. They will meet Westlake on Thursday at 9 p.m. at Towson University's SECU Arena.
White, a junior and an All-Metro guard since her freshman year, provided much of the spark, finishing with 32 points, eight rebounds, six assists and five steals. She kept the Millers' up-tempo game rolling, leading a defense that powered their offense.
"She's a very dynamic player," Aberdeen coach Amber Milnes said. "She's very good at jumping the passing lanes, and we just got caught sleeping on her … We lost her, and then when she drove down the paint, our bigs weren't ready to step in and do the help, so we kind of just let her do what she does and she does it so well, which is why they're going on to states."
Aberdeen (17-7) erased Milford's early advantage and took a 16-14 lead on Stephanie Jones' 3-pointer late in the first quarter. The Eagles took an 18-17 lead into the second quarter, but White opened the quarter by feeding Kelli Smoot for a 3-pointer and the Eagles never again led.
Jones, an All-Metro forward-guard, added two free throws to tie at 20 before the Millers took off on their 22-5 run. Despite 34 point from Jones, the Eagles couldn't contend with the Millers' speed and quickness.
"The just beat us down the floor," Milnes said. "They caught us off guard. We couldn't get our defenses set up. They run a lot of cut plays through the middle. We weren't keeping track of people in our area and we just easily got caught in bad transitions on defense and they took advantage of it."