Inside power advances Aberdeen Eagles control Kenwood in capturing 86-66 win

Boys basketball

March 08, 1998|By Bill Blewett | Bill Blewett,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Aberdeen's inside strength proved to be too much for Kenwood's outside attack, as the visiting Eagles (21-4) went on to claim the Class 3A North region title with an 86-66 victory yesterday.

The game was the first meeting between the two schools and it proved more suspenseful than the final 20-point margin would indicate.

The situation became most worrisome for Aberdeen in the second quarter.

E.J. Henderson, the heart of Aberdeen's strong inside game, had sat down after collecting three fouls in the first five minutes of play. As he sat, Kenwood (17-8) mounted a 17-4 run to close within three points.

Once Aberdeen's lead dwindled to 23-20, Henderson returned to the court and began to restore order by scoring six points in the span of a minute. The Eagles were never seriously threatened again.

With the victory, Aberdeen collected its second regional title in the past three years.

"I told the kids Kenwood wouldn't quit," said Aberdeen coach Ron Petrey. "They played hard the whole game. They made a nice run on us."

That run came after Aberdeen raced to a 19-3 lead in the first six minutes behind the shooting of Stephon Watson and Jason Owens.

Kenwood couldn't find the range on its outside shooting until the second half, when it closed the gap to eight, pouring in six three-pointers. Seniors Bobby Tumminello (16 points), Chris Bell (15) and Joe Greaver (10) led the Bluebirds in scoring.

Henderson, a 6-foot-3 senior, sat down again in the second half, but this time the Eagles sustained their lead.

"The other guys stepped up -- Stephon [Watson], Demetris [Oliphant] -- and we got some good minutes from Kelvin Dunham off the bench. It was a total team effort," said Petrey, whose last trip to the state finals was two years ago, in Henderson's sophomore year.

Watson scored 26 points, Henderson 17 and Oliphant 14 for Aberdeen.

"This was our kids' first exposure to this," said Kenwood coach Cal Rumbley. "They were fired up, and it took them a little bit of time to get their composure. When they did, they played their hearts out and gave us all they could.

"We knew Aberdeen was strong inside," added Rumbley. "That's where we are weakest. They won the battle."

Pub Date: 3/08/98

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