Aberdeen's scoring burst keys victory over Wright

January 31, 1996|By John W. Stewart | John W. Stewart,SUN STAFF

Aberdeen blitzed C. Milton Wright with a 14-point burst in the second quarter and raced away with a 72-47 victory last night to take sole possession of first place in the Harford County League.

Four baskets by Gabe Neal inside and three by reserve Todd Collins outside helped the Eagles (12-2, 5-1) record a seventh successive triumph since a 60-53 loss at C.M. Wright on Jan. 3.

It was the second straight loss for Wright (8-5, 4-2), which had a six-game winning streak halted by Havre de Grace Friday.

The second-quarter spurt enabled Aberdeen to overcome a 15-12 deficit, and the home side went off at the half on top, 32-18. A three-point basket by Chris Wilson with 2 1/2 minutes left in the quarter ended a 4:45 scoreless stretch for C.M. Wright, and turned out to be the team's only score in the last 7:15.

"We're playing well, with solid defense and balanced scoring," Aberdeen coach Ron Petrey said.

One had only to look at the first meeting between the two to see the difference.

In that 60-53 Wright victory, the Mustangs made seven three-pointers (each side had two this time), and Aberdeen's inside threats of Neal, Tommie Mims, and E.J. Henderson combined for 13 points. Last night, the three had 39 points, and Collins added 15.

"We talked about those threes, and we couldn't afford that again. It's too hard to come back," Petrey said. "As a result, we extended our defense and played more on the perimeter, hoping that [Duane] Fisher and [Dave] Rueckert didn't destroy us inside. Then Rueckert got in foul trouble and had to come out a couple of times."

"We were terrible boxing out," said Wright coach George Constantine. "We were giving up four and five shots [on the same possession] and you can't do that against a top-caliber team."

Without the services of senior point guard and team leader Peter Troilo (sprained ankle), Wright did not take care of the ball very well. Hampered by the Aberdeen defenders, its normally decent outside shooting was not there either. The Mustangs got caught up playing the home team's game, and when Aberdeen had more speed at every position, it turned out to be no contest.

It may have been a costly victory, however, because two Aberdeen starters went out with injuries. Point guard James Smith, equally at home directing traffic or working to get off a shot, caught an elbow under the eye in a scramble off one of his penetration moves. He left with 5:07 to play in the third period. Adam Vesely was a late casualty when he received a cut under his eye on a drive to the basket.

"We'll have to wait to see how they are, but we don't play until Friday [another battle for first place with neighborhood rival Havre de Grace, a three-point loser in the first meeting]," Petrey said.

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