The Washington Post

Gophers’ transforma­tion is complete

GLEN BURNIE 43, CHURCHILL 40

- BY VARUN SHANKAR

There were no flashy buckets for Amourie Porter and the Glen Burnie girls’ basketball team in the third quarter of the Maryland 4A state final. In fact, there were no buckets at all. The Gophers went 0 for 18 from the field in the period and were kept afloat by six free throws.

Porter scored all of them, repeatedly driving to the rim and receiving bruising contact to keep her squad close. Then, in the fourth quarter, Glen Burnie struck, outscoring Churchill by seven to win the program’s first championsh­ip, 43-40, on Friday night at Xfinity Center in College Park.

Porter led the Gophers with 18 points, 12 of which came from the free throw line and helped overcome a 3-for-16 shooting performanc­e.

“Yeah, I got blocked a couple times, but I was going to keep going,” she said. “It’s going to break eventually. And when I got to the free throw line, it gave me a chance to reset. . . . Didn’t matter if I made it or missed it, I was going to keep going.”

“It mattered,” joked her father and coach, Sam Porter.

The win capped Amourie Porter’s standout high school career, one that could have taken her to many other places. She received ample interest from private schools as an eighth-grader but chose to come to a Gophers squad that went winless the previous year.

“I saw that the Glen Burnie program, they were getting stepped on. A lot of people talked bad about them,” said Porter, who is headed to Cal State Bakersfiel­d next. “. . . I would say that seeing change around the school . . . the support the girls’ basketball gets now, it just feels good.”

Her arrival started a steady build. Glen Burnie (24-2) jumped to a winning record in her freshman season. Sam Porter was hired the following year, but teams in Maryland didn’t play because of the pandemic. Last season was the duo’s first year together and resulted in a 22-1 run that ended in the state semifinals against Western.

The father and daughter changed the team’s culture, creating one built around hard work and sacrifice. That ethos guided the Gophers as they soared through the regular season and won the Anne Arundel County championsh­ip.

The season fulfilled a proclamati­on Sam Porter made after last season’s semifinal loss when he said his Gophers would return. They did that and more by hanging the program’s first banner with a win against the Bulldogs (24-4).

“We held our own. We got more support than we ever had at the school for girls’ basketball,” Sam Porter said. “. . . It’s a good year for us, and we’re going to enjoy this. But like I told y’all before, we’ll be back.”

 ?? Julia Nikhinson for THE Washington Post ?? Amourie Porter had 18 points to help Glen Burnie, coached by her father, win the title. The Gophers were winless a few seasons ago.
Julia Nikhinson for THE Washington Post Amourie Porter had 18 points to help Glen Burnie, coached by her father, win the title. The Gophers were winless a few seasons ago.

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