Pikesville girls basketball outscored visiting New Town 18-7 in the third quarter and held on for a 51-44 victory in the Baltimore County championship game Tuesday night.
Mariah Jones-Bey and Aliyah Taylor led the Panthers with 13 points each and Jayda Mayles added 11. New Town was led by Nialah Mingo (15 points) and Nasia Hart (10).
Mayles started the third-quarter surge by hitting consecutive 3-points in the first 80 seconds.
“I said somebody has got to step up and she did,” Pikesville coach Michael Dukes said. “It was important for us to strike first in that third quarter because they took all the momentum at halftime.”
New Town had trailed 12-6 after the fist quarter, but they rallied behind 11 points from Mingo and tied the score at 26 on a layup by Hart at the halftime buzzer.
In the third quarter, Jewel Hardison answered Mayles’ three with a basket to make it 32-28 with 5:50 left, but Pikesville responded with an inside basket by Tykeisha Hill and a putback by Taylor for a 36-28 lead with 4:12 left.
Taylor added another putback and Jones-Bey added a pair of driving layups through the zone and the Panthers led 44-33 after three quarters.
New Town made just three field goals, including a three from Hart, but the stellar defense of guards Taylor, her twin sister Bree and Jones-Bey kept the pressure on the Titans.
“We came in man-to-man and then we went 1-2-2 and then 2-3 and we stayed 2-3,” Aliyah Taylor said.
“[Aliyah] has been our most valuable player this year because of what she does on the defensive end. We always put her on the top player from each team,” Dukes said.
Just as the Titans did in the second quarter, they clamped down on defense in the fourth and rallied to within four, 48-44, after a three from Makiah Pollard with 2:10 left. But the Titans were only 1 of 9 from the free-throw line in the quarter.
“They hit two big threes to start the [third] quarter and we just weren’t able to compete at the free-throw line,” New Town coach Steve Anderson said. “I think that was the difference in the game. We were playing good defense all the way through.”
Any last-second miracle ended when Aliyah Taylor banked in a 3-pointer from the corner with 19 seconds left.
“I just thought I have to get the shot off before the shot clock went off,” Taylor said.
The title was the first for the twins, who came in as freshmen the year after the Panthers won their second straight county championship in 2020. COVID canceled the 2021 season and Hereford defeated Western Tech in the championship game last year.
“It feels really great knowing that we couldn’t win last year and it was a really good opportunity that we had to win this year,” Aliyah said.
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“I feel so good for this team and we had a couple of transfers and people were writing us off a little bit and I let them know, ‘Don’t let that define your season,’” Dukes said. “I think the kids played with a chip on their shoulder this year and I think it’s really carried them through, for sure.”
The Panthers (19-4) are headed to the regional playoffs where the third-seeded squad will face second-seeded Francis Scott Key in the second round of the Class 1A regional playoffs Feb. 27.
New Town (17-6), the second seed in Class 2A, hosts Carver on Feb. 27.
“I’m proud of this team for the effort that they give on the defensive side of things and they are growing on the offensive side and they’ve come a long way,” Anderson said. “COVID took a year from them, so they were learning the system last year and they’ve really come into it this year and I really feel sorry for who we have in states.”
Pikesville, 51 New Town 44
P — Mariah Jones-Bey 13, Aliyah Taylor 13, Jayda Mayles 11, Darielle Weems 5, Tykeisha Hill 4, Korai Bowen 3, Bree Taylor 2; NT — Nialah Mingo 15, Nasia Hart 10, Ijae Dower 7, Ryan Johnson 5, Jewel Hardison 4, Makiah Pollard 3