Girls Basketball: Owls see different 'brand of basketball' in 3A West final

When Dave Urban replaced Shawn Minnier as Westminster’s girls basketball coach last year, Minnier remained on the Owls’ staff as Urban’s assistant.

Urban and Minnier are good friends and have coached alongside one another for many years. Together, their main focus for the Owls program these last two seasons has been growth. The Owls have made those necessary strides year after year and earned a spot in the Class 3A West Region final after early playoff exits in 2017 and 2018.


The Owls had to get past Frederick, the two-time reigning 3A state champions, if they wanted to win their first regional title in 35 years. However, the Cadets made quick work of the Owls and defeated them 74-37 to earn a fourth consecutive trip to the state tournament.

Sophomore guard Jillian Pumputis led the Owls with 15 points and added two rebounds and two steals. Senior forward Zoe Costley scored 10 points and had five rebounds, while sophomore forward Sophia Diehl notched 10 points and five boards for Westminster (18-7).

“We got our footing in the second quarter and understanding that you can’t throw long looping passes, which we preached the past two days,” Urban said. “The style they’re trying to create is to speed you up and get you out of rhythm to get playing at their speed. That’s their brand of basketball, to move it up and down the floor to create turnovers and go to the basket.

“To their credit, they hit everything. Then, when you get them to half court, which is what we tried to get them to do, we got them to slow down, got them moving the ball to the outside. There’s not much you can do when they’re shooting from NBA range and hitting it. That’s to their credit.”

The Cadets routed their previous playoff opponents, Linganore and Tuscarora, prior to hosting the Owls in the region final. And they wasted no time in getting things going as they outscored the Owls 21-4 after the first quarter.

A 3-pointer from Costley trimmed the deficit to 25-7 early in the second quarter, but Frederick sophomore forward Rose Bubakar responded with a layup to make it a 20-point advantage. Meghan Ruth contributed two baskets in a row for the Owls to make it 29-13, but Frederick kept feeding the ball to senior guard Makayla Daniels and Bubakar, two of the Cadets’ offensive weapons.

The Arkansas-bound Daniels scored seven straight points for Frederick in the third quarter to propel them ahead by 23, 48-25. Pumputis hit a 3 to start the fourth quarter and brought the Westminster within 19 of the Cadets at 50-31.

The Owls faced some foul trouble in the fourth and Pumputis was visibly emotional as she came off the court with about three minutes left to play.

Westminster's Jillian Pumputis (20) wipes a tear from her eye as the team walks off the court disappointed following their loss to Frederick during the 3A West regional championship girls basketball game at Frederick High School on Saturday.
Westminster's Jillian Pumputis (20) wipes a tear from her eye as the team walks off the court disappointed following their loss to Frederick during the 3A West regional championship girls basketball game at Frederick High School on Saturday. (Brian Krista / Carroll County Times)

The Cadets were in the midst of an 18-0 scoring run when Daniels and Bubakar were pulled from the game. The duo were met with claps and cheers from the Frederick crowd as they took their seats on the bench.

Costley came out with about a minute left and, like Pumputis, grew emotional at the sound of the buzzer.

“I think the main difference between us and Frederick is our style of basketball,” Costley said. “They like to push down the court and we like to slow it down and play half-court and I don’t think we could implement that today. I think the best thing we did today is we never gave up throughout the whole game. When we’re down by 30, everyone is still going after the ball and driving hard to the basket. That’s what we’re most proud of today, knowing that we’re leaving this gym giving our all and we left everything out on the floor.”

After the game, Urban and Minnier told the girls that basketball is a vehicle for them to take their next steps in life and to help them develop a network as a result of their positive experiences with the sport.

“What we told them, from a basketball standpoint, is that basketball is another step, you see what you have to do,” Urban said. “Carroll County has to compete outside of the county, it’s a whole different game from what is played in our county. In order to make those next steps, that’s why we play the summer leagues out here and the fall leagues, that’s why we search out competition like this. It’s a whole different brand that you have to embrace.”

Westminster (37): Taylor Speigle 2, Meghan Ruth 4, Maddie Olexy 2, Jillian Pumputis 15, Sophia Diehl 4, Zoe Costley 10.


Frederick (74): Brooklyn Hoy 5, Yanessa Boyd 3, Hannah Layman 5, Rhianna Hall 4, Makayla Daniels 30, Rose Bubakar 17, Jaylynn Montgomery 3, Asha Lacey 2.

Halftime: Frederick, 33-18.