Time ran out on the unlikely playoff run of the Westminster Owls.
After trailing No. 15 Meade by as much as 20 in the first half, Westminster cut the lead to two late in the game before the experience and athleticism of the host Mustangs prevailed in a 64-57 win in the Class 4A East semifinals.
"We dug ourselves a big hole," said Westminster coach Sue Conklin, coaching her eighth game since taking over for former coach Dick Ebersole, who resigned shortly after nine of his 12 players were declared ineligible for the season. "The kids played hard. They have nothing to be ashamed of."
It will be Meade (18-5), however, that advances to the regional final, where it will travel to top-seeded Arundel, an 87-37 winner over Frederick, tomorrow at 7 for the right to earn a spot in the Class 4A state semifinals at UMBC.
Meade last won its region in 1999, and never has won a state title.
The Mustangs took command of the game in the first half, using a 35-5 run over a span of 7:07 to build a 38-18 lead a minute before halftime.
With starting point guard Sparkle Williamson on the bench with foul trouble for much of the half, freshman Aanika Dobbins stepped in to help the Mustangs expand their lead.
"Our other guard stepped up and ran the point, did a great job and that made the difference in the first half," Meade coach Dave Wylie said. "Aanika Dobbins played a great game."
Meade's size in the frontcourt, however, had perhaps a bigger impact. Led by 6-foot-3 Jazmine Ramsey, 6-foot Catrina Wells and 5-10 Shamir Footman, the Mustangs dominated the boards, especially at the offensive end, at one point getting five shots on a possession.
Footman finished with 14 points, Dobbins 11 and Williamson and Tammi Webster 10 each.
In the second, half, however, it was Westminster that dominated, showing the form that earned it an upset win over No. 11 Chesapeake in the quarterfinals.
Led by 5-11 forward Natasha Morrison (20 points) and 6-1 forward Emily Bollinger (19), the Owls slowed the pace and began chipping away at the lead. After outscoring Meade 30-14 to open the second half, they cut the deficit to 52-50 on Morrison's put-back with 2:46 left.
"We kept going and gave it our all," Morrison said. "All the girls came together."