Aberdeen shows no mercy in icing states berth Eagles destroy Pikesville, 82-54, eye College Park

Boys basketball

March 03, 1996|By John W. Stewart | John W. Stewart,SUN STAFF

Aberdeen, a five-time regional final loser in coach Ron Petrey's eight seasons, made sure it didn't happen again.

Before a packed house, the Eagles thrilled home fans with a systematic demolition of Pikesville, 82-54, in the Class 2A North championship game yesterday.

The victory sends Aberdeen to the state tournament at College Park for the first time since 1986, against Middletown, a 55-51 winner over Wheaton, Friday at 9 p.m.

Two stretches were characteristic of the Aberdeen season, one that has seen the team win 17 games in a row on its way to a 22-2 record.

In less than six minutes of the opening quarter, all five starters scored in getting a 13-10 lead. The margin was 17-12 at the quarter, and an 11-3 run late in the second segment provided a 32-24 halftime lead.

Still, the Panthers (23-3), armed with three-point potential and a 67-point regional scoring average, were a definite threat.

The Eagles snuffed that out in the first three minutes of the third quarter. Pikesville got two of the first three baskets in the opening minute, and then Aberdeen went to work.

Senior forward Mark Stevens hit from 15 feet; Gabe Neal went down the baseline for two, and junior forward Tommie Mims converted a Stevens feed into a lay-up.

Quickly, it was 40-28. The Panthers could connect for only two more baskets the rest of the quarter, and the count rose to 55-36.

At the end, Neal, a 6-foot-7 senior, had 22 points and 17 rebounds; Stevens turned on the offense with a season-high 18 points, and Mims had 17.

"The way Pikesville was playing on offense [working from the outside and leaving the middle open], Tommie and I could sit in the middle and take away their drives," Neal said.

Sam Altman, a 6-1 senior guard, gave Pikesville an outside threat with three three-point goals, and ended with 20 points. Teammate Kenny Mitchell added 19.

"They beat us in all departments," said Pikesville coach Aaron Heisler. "Scoring, rebounding, height, speed -- and I pretty much knew it was coming."

Aberdeen basically uses six players -- seniors Neal, Stevens, and Adam Vesely; juniors Mims and James Smith; and sophomore E.J. Henderson -- with Vesely, Mims, and Neal providing balanced scoring.

Smith, in his first season as a starting point guard, has grown into the role.

"Once we rebounded the ball, James did a great job of running us up and down the floor," Petrey said. "I think they ran out of gas, because we just blew past them."

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