After barely being tested in regional play and winning three games by double digits, the No. 14 Century girls continued their stellar play in Friday night's Class 2A state semifinal against Owings Mills.
The Knights used a fast start and tenacious defense to overwhelm the Eagles, 47-20, at UMBC's RAC Arena.
Junior center Jamie Clarke had 10 points and seven rebounds for Century, and senior guard Alice Mercer added 11 points, five rebounds and three steals.
"We knew had to step up, especially on defense," said Century senior forward Angela Flister, whose team forced 27 turnovers. "I think it's our forte."
Century (24-2) moves on to play defending Class 2A state champion Calvert on Saturday at 1 p.m. at the same site, marking the program's first state final appearance in its 10-year history.
"It's going to be a different game than this one," Century coach Joel Beard said. "They are a very athletic team. They have very experienced players. Some have been playing for three, four years [on varsity]."
Owings Mills led 3-2 less than two minutes into play on Briana Bull's 3-pointer, but the rest of the game belonged to Century. The Knights went on a 10-0 run over the final 5:49 of the first quarter while clearly setting the tempo by forcing 10 turnovers.
"I thought we did what we had to do today — that was take charge of the game early," Beard said. "Defensively, for the most part we played very, very well."
Owings Mills (13-12) was rationed to four points in the second quarter while Century closed the period on an 11-2 run.
In the second half, the Eagles went more than seven minutes without a basket and totaled just two points on free throws by Briana Forbes and Danielle McIntosh during that span.
"They made it difficult for us," said Eagles coach Donchez Graham, whose team was making its first state semifinal appearance since 1984. "They got after us. We thought we were really prepared for it."
C— Mercer 11, Clark, 10, Jones 8, Flister 5, Bordner 4, Dixon, 4, Nichols, 3, Patten, 2. Totals: 19 7-12 47
OM— Bull 7, McIntosh, 5, Parker, 3, Gaer, 2, Huttenberger, 2, Forbes. Totals: 18 8-15 46
Half: C, 27-10