Towson University - Anchored by an 9-2 scoring run with a little more than 4 minutes to play Saturday, Patterson Mill captured the Maryland Class 2A Girls Basketball State Championship inside Towson University's SECU Arena.
The Huskies beat three-time defending 2A champion Calvert, 33-30, in a game that was marred by turnovers and poor shooting by both teams. The Huskies title was the school's first in girls basketball. Calvert had beaten Patterson Mill in the state semfinals the past two years during its incredible three title run.
"Wow, wow, this is something we've been thinking about since the end of last year, this was our goal all year long," Huskies head coach Holly Ismail said. "I got to tell ya, these guys fought hard for all 32 minutes."
Patterson Mill's full game 2-3 zone defense gave Calvert problems throughout, forcing 28 turnovers. The defense was employed to defend Calvert's 6-3 Towson-bound center Daijha Thomas and it worked, holding her to just two points.
"I thought they did an incredible job," Ismail said about the defensive effort, particularly against Thomas.
Still, the Huskies, who led by as much as eight (15-7) late in the first half, got behind 28-22 early in the fourth quarter.
The Huskies still trailed the Cavaliers 28-24 with 4:30 to play, when freshman Khayla Mitchell, who finished 2-for-13 from the floor, made her second shot count. Mitchell's basket for three points closed the gap to 28-27 with 3:00 to play.
"I knew that coming in here, I had to shoot well, cause that big girl, every time I drove, she was blocking it, so I was like, I have to keep on shooting," Mitchell said. "When I finally made that shot, I was just overwhelmed, finally one got in there."
Thirty seconds later, Qalea Ismail drove to the basket and scored, while also getting fouled. Ismail did not make the free throw, but the Huskies led 29-28 with time winding down.
Calvert's Kayla Gross missed two free throws with just over 2 minutes to play and Sam Herman came up with the steal of the game with 1:06 left. Herman reached in on Endia Butler's crossover dribble, poked the ball away and beat two Calvert players down the floor for the layup. Patterson Mill led, 31-28.
"I kind of figured out how she dribbled an what her moves were, so as soon as she had that crossover, I was just going to be there," Herman said of the play. "Then, when I was taking that layup, I was just hoping that I was not going to miss it."
Calvert came up empty in its next trip, and Mitchell then made one-of-two free throws with :32 left to push the Huskies lead to 32-28.
Calvert's Tyler Graves added her team-high 11th point on a layup to make it 32-30, but with just 4.6 seconds remaining.
Ismail, who had a game-high 14 points, was fouled on the inbounds, leaving 3.4 on the clock. Ismail made the first, but missed the second. Calvert rebounded the ball and pushed up court, but they never got a last second shot off.
Patterson Mill led for much of the first half. Ismail's two, three-point baskets less than a minute apart late in the half had given the Huskies a 15-7 lead, the largest lead by either team in the contest.
The Huskies led 15-10 at the half, but a 14-5 Calvert advantage in quarter three had the Huskies behind, 24-20, entering the final quarter.
Patterson Mill freshman Chyna Latimer scored all six of her points in the first half. Latimer's nine rebounds were a team best, as she and senior Stephanie Ehly, with five boards, worked with Ismail to keep Calvert's Thomas quiet. Thomas did have 16 rebounds and three blocked shots.