ELDERSBURG — For three-plus quarters, this one appeared headed down a familiar path.
In advancing to Saturday’s Class 2A West final, Century beat South Carroll by one in the Section II semifinals Wednesday and then Poolesville by two in triple overtime Friday in the sectional final.
And with three minutes left in the fourth quarter Saturday, the Knights were tied with and Walkersville. But the Lions’ Tyra Hughes got hot late to help Walkersville pull away for a 63-55 win.
Behind Hughes, the Lions (22-3) closed the game on 11-3 run.
Hughes didn’t score in the first half, but she had 23 points in the second, including 17 in the fourth quarter.
She had four 3-pointers. Her last one pushed the Lions’ lead to 59-52 with 1:53 left in the fourth quarter.
“It was close, but I think it was that last 3 that Hughes hit was the one that changed the game,” Knights coach Joel Beard said.
Century (17-8) led 23-22 at halftime, had the game tied 38-38 after the third quarter, and fought back in the fourth after trailing by five midway through.
The Lions, meanwhile, came away with points on each of their final six.
“I’m pleased with my kids,” Beard said. “I’m not pleased that we lost. It’s hard for them right now, but I don’t think they have anything to be ashamed of. They played exceptionally well. But when you play a real good team like that, one or two little things here or there make a difference.”
However, the Knights were unable to pull this one out at the end, unlike the previous two playoff games.
“It was so close. I was so nervous. But they’re a good team, so props to them,” Mercer said.
Walkersville moves on to face Patterson Mill in the 2A state semifinals. The Knights, meanwhile, bounced back from two losses late in the regular season to advance to the regional finals, but their season ends one win shy of a regional championship.
“It’s definitely a mix between sad tears and happy tears right now,” Nichols said. “We were definitely underestimated this whole time. Nobody expected us to get this far.”
Walkersville (63): Tyra Hughes 23, Lana Long 15, Maia Harper 10, Chaslyn Derexson 8, Sydney Bolyard 3, Mackenzie Mathis 2, Arianna Johnson 2.
Walkersville 15 7 16 25 — 63
Century 8 15 15 17 — 55