No lead is safe against the Aberdeen boys basketball team.
Fridaynight, Edgewood might have thought a 29-point lead going into the fourth quarter would be enough to hold off the Eagles. But it almost wasn't.
Edgewood (7-1 overall, 1-0 league) had to fight off an Eagles' fourth-quarter charge and barely held on for a 63-60 victory.
Aberdeen (6-3 overall, 0-1 league) scored 20 unanswered points and pulled to within 62-58 late in the fourth quarter. Demont Blackmon scored eight points and Hemi Huff added seven in the fourth quarter to lead theEagles' comeback.
The man-to-man defense that had worked so well through the first three quarters for Edgewood did not give Aberdeen trouble in the fourth quarter. The Eagles started slicing through the defense the same way Edgewood had rolled through Aberdeen's early in the game.
Edgewood coach Bob Slagle sat his starters down for muchof the third quarter. When they came back in the fourth, they seemeda little sluggish.
"I may have been guilty of resting them, and they thought it was over," said Slagle. "We didn't come out at all offensively or defensively (in the fourth quarter)."
Slagle and theRams seemed surprised that they had such an easy time early in the game. Aberdeen never had a lead. Edgewood rolled to leads of as much as 33 points late in the second quarter.
"We just didn't play well," said Aberdeen coach Ron Petrey. "We didn't have the desire to beat anyone, and Bob's kids came out like a buzz saw. Everything was Edgewood."
In streaks, Edgewood seemed to hit almost every shot it took. The Rams shot just under 50 percent from the field in the first three quarters. Steve Lewis led Edgewood with a game-high 19 points, while Maurice Boone and Damon Bomar had 11 each.
The Rams' Brian Johnson hit all three of his second-quarter shots and finished with ninepoints. Lewis hit all four of his third-quarter attempts, including two three-pointers.
By halftime, the Rams had run up a 44-17 leadand extended that lead in the third quarter. But Lewis said he and his teammates would never count Aberdeen out of the game.
"They got up-tempo and they came at us hard (in the fourth quarter)," said Lewis. "They started to run, and they got their thing going, but we expected them to play like that the whole game. They're Aberdeen, and we're Edgewood, and that's the way it always is. They always play tough."
Bill Griffin hit the Eagles' first shot of the quarter and started a 20-point run that ended with a Blackmon three-pointer. Meanwhile, Edgewood's shooting touch disappeared, and the Rams hit only one of nine shots in the final quarter.
After Lewis hit a free throw topull Edgewood ahead, 59-49, Aberdeen's Blackmon canned another three-pointer, and Huff followed with a layup on a feed from Demetrius Harris to pull within five.
Lawrence Worthington's fade-away jumper put Edgewood up, 61-54, with 2:41 left. Boone added a free throw to take the lead to eight points. Harris followed with a three-pointer to cut it to 62-57 with 2:18 left. Harris added a free throw 15 seconds later to pull the Eagles within four.
Blackmon and Trent Thomas kept firing three-point attempts the rest of the way for Aberdeen, but none of them hit.
Bomar added a free throw for Edgewood, and Harris hit a short jumper at the buzzer to finish off the scoring.
"We put ourselves in a hole that we couldn't get out of," said Petrey. "Ijust wanted them to play for a little pride (in the second half)."
Aberdeen had come back just the week before against Bowie. Trailingby 22 points in the third quarter, the Eagles won by two points.
"I think we are starting a pattern I really don't enjoy," said Petrey, laughing.
Huff led the Eagles with 17 points and 13 rebounds while Blackmon added 14. The Rams face another tough test this Friday night when they play defending county champ Joppatowne. Aberdeen has what could be its toughest game of the week Tuesday, as Fallston visits. Both games start at 6:45 p.m.