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Patterson Mill girls defeat Western Tech, advance to Saturday's state title basketball game

The Patterson Mill Huskies are headed back to the Class 2A girls basketball championship game. The Huskies (20-5) came out blazing Wednesday night, hitting six of seven three-point shots in the opening quarter, and they needed it. The torrid shooting propelled Patterson Mill to an 60-44 win over a stubborn Western Tech team at Towson University's SECU Arena.

"Tonight's game was a really interesting game. I don't really know how to sum it up," Patterson Mill coach Holly Ismail said. "The first quarter was phenomenal, obviously with our shooting it was really, really strong."

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The Huskies will meet the Oakdale Bears of Frederick County in Saturday's 2A state final. Oakdale defeated Oakland Mills, 57-35, in Wednesday night's first semifinal. Saturday's game tips at 1 p.m.

Senior guard Sam Herman had the hottest hand, hitting her first two shots of the game from beyond the three-point line. Herman added another big shot in the quarter and Patterson Mill was off and running, leading 21-0 after one quarter. "I just wanted to go out there and play the best that I could and contribute on the scoreboard," Herman said.

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Western, meanwhile, couldn't buy a shot, shooting a dismal 3-for-19 in the first half, including 0-for-6 from three-point land.

Senior Qalea Ismail added a three-pointer before picking up her third foul with 4:44 to play in the half.

Sophomore Khayla Mitchell came off the bench to hit two more three-point shots in the half, but with Herman and Ismail both on the bench with fouls, Western slowly chipped away at the large deficit in the second quarter.

Freshman Kayla Spruill (19 points) led Western's comeback. Western outscored Patterson Mill, 12-8 in the second quarter and 14-9 in the third. The once comfortable 21-0 lead was now just 12, 38-26.

Western cut the lead to five twice in the fourth quarter, but the Huskies, who were not too good from the free throw line (18-for-37), made enough to stay ahead and eventually pull back away.

Sophomore Chyna Latimer was the key for the Huskies, scoring 11 of her 16 points in the final quarter, including making 7-of-8 free throws in the quarter.

"Chyna was huge, with her free throws and her rebounding," Ismail said.

A steal by Herman and an assist to Mitchell for a layup was big in the final minute as well.

Western senior Deja Dennis (11 points) made 5-of-6 free throws in the fourth quarter before fouling out with 2:01 to play.

Ismail (16 points) fouled out of Patterson Mill's lineup six seconds later. Spruill also fouled out of the game in the final minute.

Latimer grabbed 14 rebounds to complete the double-double. Herman finished with 12 points and Mitchell added 11. Kate Eckart was scoreless, but her 13 rebounds contributed to Patterson Mill's 55-35 advantage.

"They were the defending state champs for a reason," Western Coach Alan Lagon said. "They came out on fire and hopefully it's something we can learn from."

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Ashley Gourdine added 11 points for Western (15-9).

In Saturday's final, the Huskies will look to join Fallston and Aberdeen as Harford girls' teams who won back-to-back state basketball championships. Fallston won the 3A title in 2009 and the 2A crown in 2010. Aberdeen won the 3A title in 2012 and 2013.

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