Another fast start, another dry spell, and most importantly, another state championship.
Sticking to the same script it has used for much of the past two seasons, No. 1 and top-seeded Old Mill defeated second seed Bowie, 50-39, in yesterday's Class 4A state final at Catonsville Community College.
The Patriots (25-1) became only the second 4A team to win back-to-back championships. Broadneck did it in 1989 and 1990.
The title was the third overall for Old Mill coach Pat Chance, who saw her team score the game's first nine points, then struggle offensively the rest of the way. The Patriots shot 11 of 42 from the field in the first half and 16 of 73 for the game, but they never trailed and were tied only once.
The game resembled Thursday's semifinal, when Old Mill raced to a 14-0 lead against Gaithersburg, but only scored five second-quarter points, before eventually pulling away for a 40-27 win.
"We seem to hit these dry spells with our shooting. I don't know what really causes that, but there are some good athletes out here," said Chance, whose Patriots won their last 20 games.
Old Mill defeated Bowie, 54-34, in the IAABO Christmas tournament, but the Bulldogs (21-5) stayed close yesterday. They outscored the Patriots 15-10 in the third quarter to tie the game at 33, but were limited to six points the rest of the way.
"Bowie certainly has changed and we didn't come in taking them lightly. We knew they were going to be a tough team," Chance said.
Bowie's hope for an upset was hurt when point guard Susan Leshinsky had to be helped to the bench during warm-ups because of a knee injury she suffered in Thursday's 57-39 semifinal win over Laurel. She didn't play yesterday.
"We really didn't have any ball control today," said Bowie coach Ted Green, whose Bulldogs committed 34 turnovers. "When teams pressure us, we can usually go down the floor and score, but her loss changed the complexion of the game."
So did the play of forward Cindy Davenport, the lone senior in Old Mill's starting lineup. Davenport cored just three points, but she had 10 rebounds and nine steals.
"Even if she doesn't score a lot, Cindy's the workhorse. She's been doing that all year," Chance said.
Junior guard Christine Baer led Old Mill with 12 points. Stacy Himes and Lee Ann Lezzer scored eight each, with Lezzer doing all her scoring in the second half.
Bowie senior forward Becky Greenfield led all scorers with 18.
Lezzer made two free throws to break the 33-33 tie with left in the third quarter, and her three-pointer with 5:00 remaining in the game put Old Mill up, 45-37. Bowie's Takiyah Jackson answered with a jump shot, but the Patriots tallied the last five points, beginning with an Anne Chicorelli follow.
Baer opened the game with a three-pointer, Himes drove the XTC lane for a basket, and Baer scored off a Himes inbounds pass to stake Old Mill to a 7-0 lead. Davenport then followed a Baer miss before the Bulldogs' Amy Ford made a free throw with 4:10 left. The first quarter ended with the Patriots leading 13-7.
Bowie got within four wice in the second quarter, but Old Mill turned up the defensive pressure and went ahead 23-13 on a Tiffany Slade follow with 2:23 left.
"We noticed they pass the ball to the middle [against the press], so we were trying to cut off that pass because as soon as they got the ball in the middle, they'd dump it off to a wing running down the sideline," Baer said. "Most teams we've played haven't really done that."
Said Himes: "These last two games say a lot about our defense. I know we didn't shoot well at all, but if we get down and we get frustrated on offense, we just come back and work hard on defense and try to get the ball back."
Teams facing Old Mill next year will see almost the same group that played this season. Davenport and Amy D'Annunzio are the only players due to graduate.
BOWIE -- Greenfield 18, T. Jackson 4, Ford 7, Howard 3, L. Jackson 5, Dunn 2. Totals: 16 7-11 39.
OLD MILL -- Baer 12, Himes 8, Lezzer 8, Dawson 2, Davenport 3, Chicorelli 2, Tif. Slade 4, D'Annunzio 6, Salmon 4, Bardelli 1. Totals: 16 12-25 50.
Bowie 7 11 15 6 -- 39
Old Mill 13 13 10 14 -- 50