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Glenelg girls get to states with their comeback kids

Glenelg girls get to states with their comeback kids
Glenelg's Jess Foster, left, and Kellie Johnson, center, smile after their team's 65-54 win against Long Reach in the 3A East section I girls' basketball championship in Glenelg. (Photo by Steve Ruark)

The Glenelg girls basketball team's route to the state semifinals came with all kinds of pressure.

The Gladiators were down in each of their playoff games only to come back and knock off two Howard County opponents and then edge Stephen Decatur on the road with a late 3-pointer to win their first regional championship since 2001.

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“Two of the comebacks were against [Howard County] teams that we had already played twice and it’s tough to play a team three times,” Glenelg coach Chris Beil said. “The Stephen Decatur game went back and forth. It was a great atmosphere and we were able to pull it out.”

The Gladiators trailed River Hill early before putting away a 72-58 win. They also trailed most of the first half against Long Reach before pulling away for a 65-54 win in the sectional final.

They won the Class 3A East title in a packed gym at Stephen Decatur on Grace Butera’s 3-pointer with 48.7 seconds to go and a strong defensive stand thereafter. It was Glenelg's first regional title since the Gladiators won the 2001 Class 1A championship, their second state title in three years.

"The girls always stay in the moment," Beil said. "We realize that while there's still time on the clock we have a chance and they get along and they play well with each other. It's not one particular person."

On a balanced team, ready to meet Frederick on Thursday at 9 p.m. at Towson University's SECU Arena, sophomore guard Jess Foster has been the floor leader while contributing team-high 14-point, four-assist averages.

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