COLLEGE PARK – The Winston Churchill girls basketball team looked to conclude its dominant season with a Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association 4A title, the program’s first since 2003.
Facing Glen Burnie, Dillan George provided another excellent performance for the Bulldogs, scoring a game-high 20 points. However, it was not enough, as the top-seeded Gophers earned their first state title in school history with a 43-40 victory in College Park.
Despite losing in the state final, George’s effort led to her 1,000th point to cap off her Bulldogs career.
“I’m just really proud of how we’ve grown as a team,” said George. “We’ve grown to work together and trust each other, and a lot of that is all you can ask for.”
For four of Churchill’s seven seniors — George, Chelsea Calkins, Allison Coleman and Miranda Hill — making it to the state championship was a special moment.
During their freshman year in 2020, the Bulldogs prepared to play in the state semifinals until COVID-19 canceled the rest of the playoffs. Three years since, Churchill has won three division titles and three regional championships while earning a 67-9 record.
“Legacy-wise, they’re one of the best classes to come to Churchill,” said Bulldogs head coach Pete McMahon. “It’s just a great group of girls, and they have a lot to be proud of. I’m proud of them.”
“I think getting the opportunity to play at the Xfinity Center is just an awesome way to end your season, win or lose,” said Coleman. “I think we’re all grateful for this opportunity.”
The final was a defensive affair, with the Gophers jumping to an 8-2 lead. However, Churchill caught up and kept the game close. The matchup finished with five lead changes.
The Bulldogs led 33-26 in the fourth quarter, but Glen Burnie went on a 9-2 run to tie the game following a Cassidy Wilkerson 3-pointer. The Gophers reclaimed their advantage heading into the final stages of the contest.
Down by three with under 10 seconds left, George converted a half-court shot, but Churchill had already called a timeout with three seconds left, nullifying the points.
In the Bulldogs’ second attempt at a final possession, George attempted another game-tying triple, but the ball bounced off the rim, helping the Gophers seal the win.
“I’m really proud of myself and my team,” Calkins, who finished with 10 points, said. “We worked really hard, and it’s just unfortunate that it ended this way.”
Glen Burnie’s victory comes a year after the Anne Arundel County-based squad lost in the semifinals. Following the result, head coach Sam Porter proclaimed that the Gophers would return to the championship stage.
“We held our own [against Churchill],” said Porter. “We got more support than we ever had at the school for girls basketball. It’s a good year for us, and we’re going to enjoy this.”
Amourie Porter, Sam’s daughter, led all Gophers with a double-double of 18 points and 15 rebounds, with 12 of her points coming from the free-throw line. Lania Nick also added 12 points for Glen Burnie.