High School sports

Glen Burnie girls basketball rallies in fourth quarter to program’s first state title, beating Winston Churchill, 43-40

Glen Burnie girls basketball needed just five minutes.

Five minutes to flip the momentum of the Class 4A state final against Winston Churchill. Five minutes to make all the sacrifices mean something. Five minutes to transform what was a sub-.500 team for decades into the school’s first girls basketball state champions.


Despite trailing since halftime, despite failing to score a single field goal through the third quarter and nearly half of the fourth, the Gophers shot to life at the right time to rally past Churchill, 43-40, at University of Maryland’s Xfinity Center on Friday night.


Glen Burnie (23-2) never reached the final before, let alone won. When Western knocked out the Gophers a year ago in the state semifinals, coach Sam Porter smiled and assured everyone that his girls would be back for the title.

Not many believed him, he said.

“But it’s here now. For the school, for the community, for the county, for the ones that didn’t stray from GB, for the ones that transferred — I told y’all, don’t worry. They’ll come back home. That,” Porter said, pointing at the huge wooden trophy, “will bring them back.”

Glen Burnie players celebrate on the court after their win over Winston Churchill during the Class 4A girls basketball state championship game Friday night at University of Maryland's Xfinity Center in College Park.

Friday’s three leading scorers, Amourie Porter (18 points), Lania Nick (12 points) and Cassidy Wilkerson (11 points), all came to Glen Burnie from somewhere. Porter traversed the entire country with her military family before making the choice to play for Glen Burnie over private schools. Nick joined the squad two years ago as a Broadneck transfer. Wilkerson, who kicked off the Gophers’ fourth-quarter comeback with two-straight 3-pointers, grew up in Glen Burnie, but played for Annapolis until this year.

But the crowd they faced chanted “Glen Burnie” at them because that’s what they became. They are Glen Burnie, through and through. They are the reason a girls basketball banner is going onto that old gymnasium’s walls.

“It means a lot for the culture of GB. Knowing people look at GB as not such a great school and not great area,” Nick said. “But now they come to GB, and go, ‘Wow, girls state champions.’ Gives us a different look at it.”


But it nearly didn’t happen.

Glen Burnie's Amourie Porter cuts between Winston Churchill defenders on her way to a bucket.

The Gophers struggled against Churchill’s zone, shooting 5-for-26 in the first half. They shot 0-for-18 in the third quarter.


Amourie Porter’s six free throws were the only points Glen Burnie managed in the third quarter. Porter knew she didn’t play well in the semifinals, and on Friday, her layups were turned away by Churchill hands. But she wouldn’t stop, simply, because she knew her team needed her to keep going.

“It’s gonna break eventually. When I got to the free throw line, it gave me a chance to reset and knock the free throw down,” she said. “I was going to keep going. I was going to get that steal, that rebound. I always play with a chip on my shoulder. I worked for everything I got.”

The Gophers defense did suppress the Bulldogs to an extent, but a lack of scoring was bound to be costly. Churchill’s Allison Coleman stood strong below the nets, both denying Glen Burnie baskets as well as putting away her own.

A 30-26 deficit was a gift to Glen Burnie, all things considered.

It worsened when Churchill sank another three points to start the fourth quarter. Three minutes passed, then Wilkerson stepped to the perimeter, lifted her hands and fired.

“The energy from everywhere, the bench, the crowd, my teammates, just lifting me up,” Wilkerson said. “We were down. We needed to get back up. If we wanted to win the championship, we all had to work together.”

Glen Burnie's Cassidy Wilkerson makes a move to the hoop to release a shot against Winston Churchill.

Her 3-pointer not only shattered Glen Burnie’s 10 1/2-minute points drought, but seemingly any barrier for scoring again. Wilkerson knocked down another two, tying the game. Porter gave her team a 37-35 lead with a layup. Nick ran a set play to perfection, except her 3-pointer didn’t fall. But she collected the rebound, stepped back and tried again, and hit.

“Money. I trust them,” Sam Porter said. “I trust what we can do.”

The Bulldogs tried to nip at the lead with free throws, but Amourie Porter negated them with her own. Time sped down and Glen Burnie led by three. And Churchill released the tying 3-pointer — two seconds after its coach called timeout.

The Gophers faced the ironic gift peacefully. They knew, truly, they were moments from glory. It didn’t matter what Churchill did.

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The Gophers rarely celebrated after momentous wins this year. They accepted their county championship medals, regional final and state semifinal victories as seriously as a mid-January game.

But now, at the thought of looking at their team on the Glen Burnie wall for everyone to see, smiles broke through the stone on the Gophers’ faces. Because the work was over, and they had won.


“No one sees the sacrifices and work we put in behind the scenes, but we worked so hard,” Amourie Porter said. “We knew what our goal was.”

Along with being the first girls basketball champion in the 100-year-old school’s history, the girls basketball title is the fourth Gophers state title in two years, joining three cheerleading titles. It’s the first Glen Burnie MPSSAA-sanctioned title since baseball in 1999.

It’s also the latest in a growing pool of Anne Arundel County titles this winter. South River wrestling captured the duals title. Indian Creek girls basketball took the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland C Conference trophy, as did St. Mary’s in the B Conference on both the boys and girls side, along with swimming and track. Severna Park boys indoor track repeated as state champs. Glen Burnie and Chesapeake cheerleading both emerged on top.

And, there’s one more on the table, as Meade basketball seeks the 4A boys title Saturday night.

“What a county. We haven’t had this in a minute and the crazy part is, we might get two, because we might have Meade next,” Sam Porter said. “This is a good year, and we’re going to enjoy this.”

Glen Burnie coach Sam Porter holds the championship trophy after the team's win over Winston Churchill during the Class 4A girls basketball state championship game Friday at University of Maryland's Xfinity Center in College Park.