Glen Burnie girls basketball raises the bar, makes it to first state final after 45-28 win over Severna Park

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BURTONSVILLE — Glen Burnie girls basketball lost in last year’s Class 4A state semifinals when it put the pressure to score on Amourie Porter’s shoulders.

But on Tuesday, circumstances — namely foul trouble — took that possibility away. In Tuesday’s Class 4A state semifinal against Severna Park at Paint Branch High School, the senior took a seat early in the third quarter and would not come back until a little over five minutes remained in the fourth.


“Raise the Bar,” is a phrase the Gophers speak so often, it’s like a prayer. But this was their chance to match their words with action.

Lania Nick, Aichatta Soumaoro, Cassidy Wilkerson, Trinity Munford and others answered the call. They executed the team’s game plan and raised the bar one step higher. With the 45-28 win over the Falcons, Glen Burnie is off to its first state final.


Nick led her squad with 12 points, a majority in the third quarter with Porter sidelined.

“They stepped up to the plate. I told them they can play on this level,” Gophers coach Sam Porter said. “When the opportunity presents itself, you got to do it. Amourie didn’t have her best game; you’re not always going to. ... That’s why we have 11 other players. When you go out there, you do what you’re great at.”

Members of the Glen Burnie girls basketball team celebrate their win over Severna Park in a Class 4A state semifinal on Tuesday at Paint Branch High School.

The top-seeded Gophers (22-2) advance to Friday’s final at the University of Maryland’s Xfinity Center, where they’ll face No. 2 Winston Churchill at 8 p.m.

Amourie Porter (11 points) made the decision in eighth grade that she would come to Glen Burnie to transform its cellar-dwelling girls basketball into the standard of excellence it is now.

She swallowed tears at the thought of it all.

“I don’t do it for myself. I do it for the community,” she said. “Just picking them up when I can. Just being one step away from getting that championship, putting that banner up, it says a lot.”

Sam Porter praised Munford for spearheading the team’s defense, as well as Soumaoro (10 points, 17 rebounds, seven blocks).

“That’s executing. That’s showing, ‘I belong on this team,’” Sam Porter said.


Sam Porter “love-hates” playing Severna Park. Glen Burnie and Severna Park starve for points when they meet one another. Tuesday’s matchup wouldn’t suddenly turn up a harvest just because it was the state semifinal.

Glen Burnie’s Lania Nick readies to shoot in the first quarter.

But this was Glen Burnie’s third meeting with Severna Park. It knew how to handle the Falcons once it settled into its offense. Amourie Porter put away a 3-pointer a few seconds before the first-quarter buzzer for a 15-6 Gophers lead.

As Porter and Glen Burnie widened its monopoly on defensive rebounds, Severna Park found its options severely limited. The Falcons’ usual reliance on putbacks to score was practically eliminated. Turnovers were few, fast breaks non-existent. Gophers guards were just as hungry at the perimeter as they were in the paint.

The Gophers held Falcons leading scorer Hanna Verreault to two points and no field goals.

“It really affected the mentality of our offense in the first half,” Falcons coach Kris Dean said. “We settled in the first half. We’re a good team on the boards, but we don’t want to settle outside.”

Severna Park made the best of what it could get: trips to the foul line. Even then, it only hit 4 of 8, not enough to keep tabs with Glen Burnie, who led 22-10 at halftime.


But the Falcons were not finished yet — far from it.

Freshman Maria Bragg (seven points) and senior Abby Kavanagh (nine points) filed two quick baskets away. Severna Park suppressed the Gophers’ speed and helped pin a third and fourth fouls on Porter.

With their captain consigned to the bench and only a 10-point lead, there came the task Glen Burnie could not accomplish against Western last year: Could they do this without Amourie?

The girl that started it had already decided she would. Back in the first quarter, Coach Porter benched Nick and let her know she could play better than she was.

“I wasn’t playing my best at first. But everyone else’s energy, [Amourie] coming off, everybody picking each other up. I fed off that,” Nick said.

Severna Park’s Lilly Spilker shoots as Glen Burnie’s Aichatta Soumaoro tries to stop her in the third quarter.

Nick flushed four points at the free throw line while racking fouls on key Falcons. Then, Munford plucked a 50-50 ball from Severna Park, dished it to Nick for another basket and a 31-15 advantage, and a chorus of “Gopher Nation.” The lead built as much as 34-18.


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Once Severna Park cut the deficit to 13, Porter deployed his daughter again, but her returned presence was not enough of a jolt for Glen Burnie. They could not stroll into a state final; Severna Park was too scrappy for that.

But there was nothing the Falcons threw at Glen Burnie the Gophers couldn’t weather. Wilkerson responded to Bragg’s 3-point shot with her own 3-point play.

“Seemed like whenever we pulled an eight, they’d hit a step-back 3,” Dean said. “He’s got a great squad over there — they’re a tough team. But I’m proud of my team, the way they fought.”

The Falcons carried all the confidence in the world to this game, Dean said. Now they know they can make it to the state semifinals again. The coach believes it can spark a growth in the program.


“The young girls are seeing what we’re doing and think, ‘Hey, we put together something good here,’” Dean said. “Hopefully, we can continue.”