Friendly senior Damicia Armstrong knocked down all three of her three-point tries in the opening quarter of Friday’s Maryland 3A South girls’ basketball final against Westlake, and she had equaled her career high of 11 points by halftime.
Thanks to a suffocating defensive effort by top-seeded Friendly, the reserve guard outscored the Wolverines by herself through the first 16 minutes of play. The 20th-ranked Patriots allowed just 10 first-half points and cruised to a 61-28 victory that clinched their first state tournament appearance since 1997. They had lost the previous two region finals, and this time move on to face 3A East champ River Hill in a state semifinal on Thursday night at UMBC.
“This is a good time of year to be playing great defense,” Friendly Coach Carroll Holmes said. “We’re happy that the girls understand that’s how you’re going to win, getting after people.”
In its 12th straight victory, Friendly (20-4) jumped on Westlake (18-7) quickly, racing out to an 18-point advantage after one quarter, boosted by Armstrong’s long-range shooting. The Patriots mixed up the defensive looks, using both man-to-man and trapping full-court pressure to derail the Wolverines.
By halftime, the Patriots, who dropped last year’s final to Westlake on the same floor, led, 39-10.
“I told the girls the third time’s the charm,” Holmes said. “They just wanted it They knew they were capable of playing good and most of all, they deserved it.”
Friendly fell to River Hill, 40-36, on Dec. 26 to open the IAABO Holiday Classic. The Patriots held the Hawks scoreless in the third quarter of that game but squandered a slim lead down the stretch.
“At this point, you’re excited you have the opportunity to keep going and you want to take advantage of it,” Holmes said. “We’ll be ready to play.”
Eleanor Roosevelt captures Maryland 4A South title
Roosevelt (24-1) advances to the state tournament for the first time since winning five straight titles from 2005-2009 and will meet 4A East champ North Point in a Thursday semifinal. The unbeaten Eagles knocked off South River, 71-47, in Waldorf for their third straight region crown.
C.H. Flowers (19-5) surged into the lead late in the third quarter, but the Raiders made just enough plays down the stretch to beat the Jaguars for the third time this season. Senior Daria Simmons (15 points) hit four free throws in the final two minutes and senior Jazmin Faulkner grabbed a key rebound that helped preserve the lead.
“We don’t do nothing pretty, but we keep finding ways to win games,” Eleanor Roosevelt Coach Delton Fuller. “I guess that’s all that counts.”
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