No. 12 Aberdeen led by as many as 21 points in the third quarter and held on to beat Parkville, 82-73, in a Class 3A, Region II semifinal last night at Aberdeen.
"We weathered a storm," said Aberdeen coach Ron Petrey. "We needed a game like this. Our margin of victory has been 24 or 25 points. We haven't played in this kind of game."
The victory was the 16th straight for the Harford County champions. Their only close game during that stretch had been a regular season-ending victory over C. Milton Wright. The Eagles haven't lost since December when they dropped games in in a holiday tournament to Episcopal Academy (Pa.) and No. 4 Lake Clifton.
The third-seeded Knights (16-5) trailed by 19 points with 3:31 left in the game but narrowed that lead to 76-67 with 1:46 left. The Eagles, who have given up an average of 53.4 points all season, hit four of six free throws in the next 40 seconds to cut the Knights' rally short.
William Griffin, who led the Eagles with 24 points, polished off the scoring with a dunk, his third of the night.
The Eagles used their sticky man-to-man defense to heat up their transition game in the first half. They slowly built a 42-30 halftime lead.
Parkville didn't help itself by hitting just 13 of 43 shots in the first half. Coach Zack Karantonis knew his squad needed accurate shooting to beat the Eagles.
"I said early on to everybody, we have to hit the shots because they're going to get the boards and they're going to get the transitions," said Karantonis. "In one stretch, we lost 10 points because we missed the shots. They got the boards and transitioned down which is what they do well."