Cold spell costs Aberdeen in 71-50 loss to Friendly Patriots move on to play City tomorrow for title

Class 3A boys basketball

March 13, 1998|By Derek Toney | Derek Toney,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

COLLEGE PARK -- Aberdeen coach Ron Petry said he was surprised by some adjustments that Friendly, of Prince George's County, made in last night's Class 3A semifinal at Cole Field House.

But the biggest surprise was his team's inability to score during a six-minute stretch in the second half, sending the No. 6-ranked Eagles to a 71-50 defeat.

The Patriots (15-11) will play No. 19 City -- a 44-43 winner over Thomas Johnson, of Frederick -- for the Class 3A state championship at 3 p.m. tomorrow.

Dorian Johnson led Friendly with 14 points, and Raymond Baker and Anthony Walker each added 13. E.J. Henderson led Aberdeen (21-5) with 12 points and seven rebounds.

The Eagles were within 39-36 with 2: 13 remaining in the third quarter but failed to score until 3: 40 remained in the final period. By that time, Friendly was up 50-38.

Aberdeen got no closer than 11 points, and it fell for only the third time in the past 24 games. The Eagles haven't won a state championship since 1976.

"The wheels just came off the cart," said Petry, whose team lost in the Class 2A final to another Prince George's team, Central, in PTC 1996. "We had a couple good looks inside, we missed, and they went down and scored. Things just got out of hand really quick."

The Eagles had difficulty matching Friendly's quickness, but Aberdeen was surprised that Friendly stayed in a zone for much of the game.

Aberdeen had an especially tough time with Friendly senior point guard Anthony Walker, who darted through the Eagles, finishing with seven assists. He was 11-for-12 from the free-throw line.

Things went downhill for Aberdeen when an assistant coach was called for a technical foul with about a minute left in the third period. Walker converted three of four free throws, giving Friendly a 44-36 lead after three.

The Eagles couldn't muster any offense, missing four shots and turning the ball over three times to start the final quarter as Friendly built a 50-36 lead after two more free throws by Walker.

Stephon Watson (nine points) ended the drought for Aberdeen with a jumper. After a three-pointer by Jason Watson brought the Eagles to 52-41, two free throws by Walker and by two baskets by Baker, put Friendly comfortably ahead 58-41.

"They just opened it up on us," said Henderson, who will playing for Maryland next fall on a football scholarship. "Their guards really hurt us with their quickness."

Pub Date: 3/13/98

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