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Staff writer

FORT MEADE — The blood flowed from Trevon Porter’s lip when he hit the three-point basket to tie Great Mills’ Class 4A East Region boys basketball quarterfinal game with Meade of Anne Arundel County at 83 with 10.8 seconds left in regulation.

Meade 92, Great Mills 91 (OT)

Great Mills 17 16 21 29 8

Meade 27 18 14 24 9

Great Mills: Porter 25, McLeod 20, Day 14, Williams 13, Sampson 12, Hall 7

Meade: Easton 30, Witherspoon 16, Evans 16, Watkins 12, Buabang 9, Whittle 8, Washington 1

Free throws: Great Mills 21-28 (Sampson 8-8, Hall 7-8); Meade 30-35 (Easton 14-14)

3-point goals: Great Mills 10 (Porter 6, Williams 2, McLeod 2); Meade 8 (Easton 4, Evans 3, Witherspoon)

The sweat poured from all of the Hornets players’ faces; they had fought back from a 10-point deficit with only 3 minutes 30 seconds remaining in regulation at Meade on Thursday night before even getting to Porter’s shot.

And the tears flowed after the 11th-seeded Great Mills lost to third-seeded Meade, 92-91 in overtime, ending the Hornets season.

It was an overtime thriller into which the Hornets and head coach Frank Peck had to crawl back after all had been seemingly lost in the first three minutes of the game, after the visitors fell behind 11-0.

The Hornets spent the rest of the first half trying to keep pace and eventually went into the halftime trailing 45-33.

“We challenged them and asked, ‘Do we want to go out the way we played in the first half or do we want to come out fighting,’ and obviously, to their credit, they came out fighting with everything they had,” Peck said. “When you lose by one in overtime, it just comes down to that one possession.”

Porter led the comeback charge, scoring 20 of his team-high 25 points in the second half and in overtime but no points bigger than his three that tied the game in the final seconds of regulation.

One possession before Porter’s three-point basket, the sophomore had been in a collision that left the inside of his mouth bloody.

“Hard work and we played together,” Porter said of how he and his team got back into the contest. “We said we wanted to win. It didn’t go our way, but we had to fight.”

The Hornets took their first lead of the game with 3:36 remaining in overtime when Melquan Williams (13 points) converted one of two free throws.

In what amounted to a free-throw contest down the stretch, Meade freshman Tristen Easton was four of four in overtime, 12 of 12 from the free-throw line in the fourth quarter and overtime combined; he finished with a game-high 30 points.

“I just feel comfortable in those situations,” Easton said. “My team pumps me up every day in practice to make sure I do the right things and make sure I practice the correct shots, and it [shows up] in the game.”

Easton’s final two free throws gave Meade a 92-88 lead, and a Porter three-point make at the buzzer left the Hornets one point short.

“It’s super,” Peck said of Porter’s 25-point effort that included six three-point makes. “For a sophomore to give you that intensity, to give you that fight, you can’t ask for a whole lot more. The fact that he is a sophomore makes things a little bit easier, knowing you have next year.”

Junior Ray McLeod had 20 points in the loss, while Bernal Day had 14 and CJ Sampson contributed 12 points for the Hornets.

“They were a pretty good team with some pretty good players,” McLeod said, “but, overall, I still feel like we were better than that team.”

Both Porter and McLeod, visibly upset after the contest, offered their immediate thoughts on next season, respectively.

“Right now, with the returners, next season is going to be a much better season,” McLeod said.

Porter added, “I am not going to feel this next year. We’re not losing next year.”