If nothing else, Old Mill's Lee Ann Lezzer knows how to follo instructions.
"I was told to go in and shoot," said Lezzer, who crammed seven points into the last three minutes of Saturday's state Class 4A girls basketball championship at Catonsville Community College.
Her two free throws with 27 seconds remaining sealed the 53-51 victory over Springbrook (24-2).
The Patriots (24-2) desperately needed Lezzer's spark after squandering a 20-point halftime lead. They actually trailed 49-48 with 2:27 remaining when the 5-foot-8 sophomore sank a three-point shot for the go-ahead basket.
"I don't know what happened to us," said sophomore Stacy Himes (12 points). "Our shots stopped falling and they made every one of theirs."
Lezzer and Himes are two of the Patriots' six sophomores, so the future would appear bright for Old Mill, which won its only other title in 1986.
"We're not about to make room for another [championship] banner yet," said Old Mill coach Pat Chance. "There are a lot of teams that will dunk you, if you start thinking that way."
One of those could be Springbrook, which got 23 points from junior Cindy Weisman, 11 from junior Cecelee Campbell and 10 from sophomore Lora Aggour.
Weisman's three-point attempt from midcourt with one second remaining could have won it for Springbrook. The ball caromed off the backboard and rim.
"That wasn't the shot that would have won it for them," said Chance. "If that had gone in, it would have been the mistake we made on the previous possession that would have beaten us. We let No. 50 [Aggour] wide open for an easy basket against our press. That's why we can't take anything for granted next year. We'll have to work hard to get back here."
Chance brought her 1985 team to Catonsville and didn't win the title, but returned in 1986 to win Old Mill's first state girls basketball championship.
"I'm going home to play some pinball and relax," said Chance. "If I can get some of the girls to play summer ball and work on their skills, and come back next year ready to work hard, we can make it back."