Coppin Academy and Pikesville fall inaugural state girls’ final four appearance; Queen Anne’s ends No. 17 Oakland Mills’ turnaround season

by Nelson Coffin
Any hope that SECU Arena on the campus of Towson University would be filled to the brim with Baltimore-area teams in Saturday’s girls’ state basketball finals were dashed Friday.
The area went 0-for-3 as No. 14 Coppin Academy, 15th-ranked Pikesville and No. 17 Oakland Mills were unable to muster a win at Towson University’s SECU Arena. The bad streak began as the Scorpions from Howard County when their hot first quarter turned icy against Queen Anne’s from Queen Anne’s County in a 57-47 setback.
“We got off to a hot start, but then we started to panic,” Oakland Mills coach Walter Hagins said. “And we started to play not to lose rather than to play to win.”
The Howard County school overcame an early 6-0 deficit to secured a 13-8 advantage entering the second. The Scorpions were tied at 24 early in the third, but weren’t able to recover from Queen Anne’s 8-0 run.
The underclass-laden Scorpions were a little tight playing on such a big stage.
“I think it was our nerves,” sophomore guard Jazmine Washington said.
Oakland Mills (17-9) appeared to be very comfortable, going on a 13-2 run to obtain the lead after one. Trailing 24-19 early in the third quarter, the Scorpions answered behind Aislynn Riggs.
Riggs, a junior, had a three-point play and a stick-back to tie the match at 24. Queen Anne’s (24-2) surged back into the lead with a pair of buckets by Allie Harris and a three-ball by Brooke Gordon.
The Lions slowly pulled away after that, leading by as many as a 13 points midway through the final period after opening the quarter on a 13-4 spree. Harris, with some help from freshman forward Jiyah Hollis, limited Riggs, who posted a game-high 17 points, to that one five-point outburst in the second half.
“We fronted her,” Queen Anne’s coach Mike Kern said. “She still got the ball, but we did a good job on her.”
It was a disappointing end to a breakout season for Oakland Mills, which had a losing record last year. The Scorpions don’t have a senior on their roster.
“I think we were all thinking more about the court and the ball and stuff, and the crowd, because we’re not used to it,” said Scorpion junior forward Marley Grenway. “So definitely when we come back next year, we are going to be more focused on the goal instead of the outside things.”
QA 8 12 13 24 — 57
OM 13 8 13 18 — 47
QUEEN ANNE’S: Shannon Donovan 8, Jurnee Wilson 2, Kelly Cavanaugh 11, Brooke Gordon 3, Mackenzie Headlock 5, Abby Blanchard 4, Allie Harris 10, Jiyah Hollis 14. Totals: 23 10-18 57
OAKLAND MILLS: Marley Greenway 15, Lillian Eldridge 6, Ty’Asia McDuffie 2, Jazmine Washington 6, Aislynn Riggs 17, Micah Brown 1. Totals: 14 14-17 47

Pikesville’s Kayla Jackson makes drive to the hoop during the Panthers’ 1A state semifinal loss to Southern-Garrett. 

In the first half of its meeting with Southern of Garrett County, Pikesville was its own worst enemy by turning the ball over a whopping 15 times.
Things didn’t get much better in the second half for the Panthers.
It added up to the end of the line for Pikesville’s breakout season after its offense sputtered in a 49-37 defeat to the Rams (24-1).
Considering how sloppy the Panthers (22-3) were in the first 16 minutes, they only faced a 20-17 deficit at the half.
That fact alone might have given them a boost until Southern came out smoking in the third period on a 7-0 run ignited by senior forward Rachel Reams to build a 27-17 advantage.
“We thought we were in pretty good shape at halftime,” Pikesville coach Michael Dukes said. “And then they went on that run. Their No. 24 (Kayla Harris) really hurt us in the first half and then No. 4 (Reams) gave them a spark in the third quarter.”
Yes, the young Panthers did rally to within a bucket after sophomore forward Charia Roberts finished a fast break with just over two minutes remaining in the third quarter, yet the comeback seemed to take some starch out of them.
“We felt like we were fighting uphill the whole game,” Dukes said. “And we just weren’t as patient as we could be. Our communication broke down on defense. Our youth showed, especially in spurts.”
With only one senior to lean on, the Panthers just didn’t have enough experience to hang with a seasoned opponent about to earn its sixth straight trip to the finals.
Pikesville continued to play give-away in the second half, coughing the ball up a dozen more times in the loss to finish with 27 miscues while only getting 17 from the Rams.
Before the Panthers knew it, Southern had ballooned the lead back to double digits and Pikesville never got closer than eight points the rest of the way.
Dukes credited the Rams’ defense for much of his team’s woes.
“We weren’t expecting to see as much man-to-man as we did,” Dukes said. “Give them credit. They played excellent half-court defense and collapsed and helped well.”
Southern senior guard Hannah Wilt said that the Rams pressure was getting to the Panthers.
“You could see it in their faces,” she said. “They were getting frustrated.”
Roberts said that the inside match-ups were equal, although the Rams appeared to have the edge.
“It was just a matter of boxing out, and we didn’t do that very well,” she said.
SG 0 10 17 12 — 49
PK 6 11 10 10 — 37
SOUTHERN-GARRETT: Rachel Reams 8, Courtney Roth 17, Hannah Wilt 2, Brooke Davis 4, Kayla Harris 18. TOTALS: 21 5-6 49.
PIKESVILLE: Charia Roberts 15, Kayla Jackson 3, Teylah Saunders 2, Kristen Sterling 4, Keante Lewis 2, Tyra Robinson 10, Frances Glover 1. TOTALS: 12 13-18 37.

Coppin Academy star Tylea Galloway was the subject of intense defensive pressure from Largo and was ultimately limited to five points, as the Eagles fell in their state semifinal debut.

There aren’t many teams able to survive shooting 6-for-29 (20 percent) in the first half against a quality opponent like Largo and still prevail.
Coppin Academy is no exception.
The Eagles (23-4) were unable to overcome their bad first half and were dismissed, 66-39, by the Prince George’s County power in a Class 1A semifinal.
In their first state final four match, the Baltimore City charter school trailed, 14-12, heading into the second period before the roof fell in on them.
By halftime the deficit had swelled to 31-16 and, by the time Coppin Academy called a timeout with just under two minutes remaining in the third quarter, the shortfall was 47-22.
“We had to go on the road to get here, but Largo matched our intensity,” said Coppin Academy coach Ulysses Hardy. “Normally, we’re more intense team than some of the teams we play.”
The Lions (19-8) made it a point of emphasis to keep Tylea Galloway under wraps. Largo rotated senior guard Sasha Francis and freshman guard Alexia Hackett on Galloway, a Poly transfer who will play for Delaware State next season.
Galloway was limited to five points on 1-for-9 shooting.
“She was on our scouting report,” Largo Alana Ball-Ward said. “She’s the engine of their team. We knew if we kept her out of the equation, we’d be in good shape.”
Freshman Nyshae Weaver was one of only two Eagles to score in double figures. The 6-foot-1 center finished with 15 points and added a game-high 18 boards.
Sophomore guard Kayla Henderson chipped in 10 points for Coppin Academy, which won the East Region title in its first state postseason.
“Before the season, our goal was to get to the final four,” Hardy said. “And we did that. Just by getting here we got our name out there.”
CA 12 4 8 15 — 39
LA 14 17 19 16 — 66
COPPIN ACADEMY: Tanae’ Galloway 1,Arries Ealy 2, Kayla Henderson 18, Tylea Galloway 5, Nyshae Weaver 15, Cleleshay Salmond 3, Chyna Williams 2, Nh’Naiyah Free 1. TOTALS: 13 12-22 39.
LARGO: Sasha Francis 20, Brianna Jones 14, Vanes Schwarzmann 6, Tania White 14, Alexia Hackett 10, Janiya Sims 2. TOTALS: 25 12-26 66.