Frederick ends Long Reach’s run with second straight 3A state girls’ basketball crown

Frederick’s Makayla Daniels drives to the basket as Long Reach’s Lyric Swann defends during Saturday’s Class 3A state girls’ basketball championship game. The Cadets denied Long Reach a first state title with a 62-50 victory at Towson University’s SECU Arena.

Long Reach High girls’ basketball team climbed the staircase into history this postseason. A first region championship. Victory in its first state final four match.

But the No. 6 Lightning was unable to ascend to the zenith Saturday evening. Frederick won its second straight Class 3A state crown with a 62-50 victory over Long Reach at Towson University’s SECU Arena.

Junior guard Makayla Daniels had 29 points and 10 rebounds for the Cadets (26-2 overall), and Krysten Linthicum added 12 points. Kiana Williams finished with 18 points and four assists for Long Reach (22-3), and junior Lyric Swann had 18.

The Howard County co-champ Lightning nearly climbed out of a 15-point second half hole, falling short of their first state title. Long Reach, which defeated No. 7 Poly in Thursday’s semifinals, were looking to become just second HoCo team this decade (Glenelg won 3A in 2016) to win a state title.

“Their resiliency, and even when [Frederick] went up for quite a bit, they didn’t give up,” Long Reach coach Kelli Cofield. “It speaks . . . to the type of young ladies they are.”

The Lightning’s valiant effort was simply outdone by Daniels, arguably the state’s best public school player. The junior guard who’s committed to the University of Arkansas, was 14-of-16 from the free throw Saturday.

Last year, Daniels totaled a state final four-record 76 points, including 47 (third-highest single game performance in state girls’ final four history) against Atholton in the final.

“I get more nervous before these type of games,” Daniels said. “Once the whistle blows, my nerves kind of go away.”

The Cadets led 18-12 after one, but Long Reach rallied to take a modest two-point advantage late in the second quarter. Frederick regained the lead before halftime, then expanded it to 15.

The Lightning, however, weren’t done. Ashley Bush’s layup pulled the Columbia school to 49-45 with five minutes left in regulation.

The Cadets turned to Daniels and their championship experience to complete a repeat. Frederick won its final 23 matches.

Long Reach, which lost to Atholton in last year’s North Region final, won a record 22 games this season and first Howard Conty league crown (co-champ with Howard).

Only graduating Williams, a Bethune-Cookman recruit, Long Reach is primed for another big campaign in 2018-19.

“It’s going to hurt, but it’s not going to hurt so bad because we made history this year,” said Williams. “I’m still happy we just got here.”

Class 3A state girls’ basketball championship

at Towson University

Frederick 62, No. 6 Long Reach 50

Frederick – Linthicum 12, Keene 2, Hall 7, Daniels 29, Bubakar 8, Washington 4. Totals 21 17-22 62.

Long Reach – Williams 18, Thompson 4, L. Swann 18, J. Swann 2, Briggs-Hall 8. Totals 19 6-9 50.

Frederick 18 12 18 14 – 62

Long Reach 13 13 10 14 – 50