The Patterson Mill Huskies did not win the opening tip of the Class 1A girls basketball state championship Saturday evening, but that couldn't stop the Huskies from winning their third state championship in four years.
Led by senior Chyna Latimer, the Huskies (26-1) cruised to the win, beating the Southern Garrett Rams, 59-43, in the SECU Arena at Towson University.
The third state title is the most for any Harford County girl basketball team; Fallston and Aberdeen have two titles each.
"It's been so much fun to be able to share that with Gabby [Chenworth], Chyna and Khalya [Mitchell] and I'm really proud of all of us," Kate Eckart, one of four three-time champion seniors, said. "It's been amazing to see our development."
The Huskies made their first three shots to lead 6-0 less than two minutes in. Southern, meanwhile, missed its first 10 and the game's finish was never really in doubt.
Latimer, who led all scorers with 23 points, scored six of the Huskies first eight points.
"We wanted to come out with high energy and just go hard the whole time," Latimer said. "So we wanted to come out from the start and establish our defense and once we did that, we were able to score and just play a good game."
The Huskies led 8-2 when coach Holly Ismail called a 30-second timeout to calm things down. Despite the lead, Patterson Mill had struggled a bit with turnovers, comitting 13 in the game.
The Huskies led 12-4 at the end of the quarter, a quarter in which the Rams didn't make a basket until the final 10 seconds.
Kamrin Weimer did the honors, but the Rams (21-4) were just as cold in quarter two. The Huskies lead was 25-6 before Courtney Roth sank a three-point basket for the Rams. It was one of two field goals made by the Rams in the quarter. Weimer added the other basket at the buzzer.
Patterson Mill, meanwhile, was rolling. Latimer added six more points in the quarter to end the half with 12.
Junior Lucie Passwater (12 points, nine rebounds) also added six points from inside the paint.
Passwater and senior Gabby Chenworth (eight points, 10 boards) consistently limited Southern to one-shot possessions.
Senior Khayla Mitchell also added a big three in the quarter and the Huskies lead was 29-11 at the half.
Southern put things together a little better in quarter three, shrinking a once 20-point (33-13) lead down to 11, 39-28, It was a 9-2 run for the Rams in the quarter to keep them within sight, but the Huskies' lead was never in danger.
It was Chenworth who scored six straight points in the third quarter to keep the Huskies comfortably ahead.
Southern had one run left and with 3:09 left in the game, the Huskies were up 11, 49-38.
Mitchell and Latimer quickly changed that with a pair of three-point plays. Mitchell's drive to the basket pushed the lead back to 14, while a minute later, Latimer's effort pushed the lead to 15, 55-40, as the final minute and a half ticked off the clock.
Weimer scored 20 points to lead the Rams, while Roth added 16 points.
"We're not ashamed at all, that's a good Patterson Mill team, well-coached team," Southern head coach Danny Bosley said. "We were a little outmatched inside, but we knew that."
Patterson Mill had a 40-25 edge in rebounds.