Donning a gray hoodie, Briana Glover, eyes glazed over, stood in the hallway outside the Thomas Stone girls' basketball team's locker room Tuesday night trying to answer questions she never figured she'd be fielding this season.
The senior guard did everything she could in the Cougars' 69-62 Maryland 4A East Region quarterfinal loss to Broadneck to help her team avoid past pitfalls. She scored a season-high 30 points, rallying the Cougars to a second-half comeback, and still her career ended in the same fashion as her freshman and junior years: with a loss to the Bruins.
"It hurts worse than my ninth- and 11th-grade year because I'm getting ready to leave," Glover said. "We didn't take the [Southern Maryland Athletic Conference] this year, and we wanted to make it past the first round of the playoffs, and it's against a team you lost to before. It hurts."
Glover had every reason to believe this game would have a different ending from her previous encounters with Broadneck until Thomas Stone (16-7) unraveled in the waning minutes. The Cougars were outscored 28-13 in the fourth quarter, done in by sophomore Jackie Webber, who scored 10 points in the final period.
So the Cougars were left to wonder after looking so strong in the season's second half against SMAC competition -- winning 11 straight games heading into Tuesday -- how they could lose to a team that hadn't won a third of its games this season.
"Every team in our county, we know who they are," Cougars Coach Mark Gladfelter said. "We know personnel, they know personnel. It takes less than a minute to go over a scouting report on teams from our county. There's a familiarity there. When you play teams out of your league, this is a different team. Every Broadneck team we've played has been a different team."
Broadneck (7-16) scored the game's first 10 points, jumping to a 15-2 lead on four three-pointers from guard Katie McDermott. Even then, the Cougars never gave an indication they were out of it, and they slowly came back.
Sparked by the play of Glover, who scored 10 points in the third quarter despite carrying three fouls, and Tiffany Mills (12 points), the Cougars took a 49-41 lead into the fourth quarter.
But Broadneck opened the final period with an 11-0 run, beating the Cougars to loose balls and offensive rebounds.
"It felt like we had the game in control [during the third quarter], but we slipped up," Mills said. "That's the worst part. We felt like we could have had it, that we were the better team, but we just slipped up."