Aberdeen's patience pays with 49-41 win

Control in final minutes holds off No. 3 Wicomico

March 05, 2000|By Eric Viccaro | Eric Viccaro,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

WYE MILLS -- Aberdeen High boys basketball coach Richard Hart said the most dramatic development with his team this season is patience.

The Eagles have reduced their number of turnovers per game to eight, down from last year's 17.

That served top seed Aberdeen well as the Eagles had just two turnovers during the final nine minutes to defeat Wicomico, 49-41, in last night's Class 2A East region final at Chesapeake College.

"Coach is always telling us when we have the lead not to rush things," said senior guard Tylan Gatling, who scored a game-high 15 points for Aberdeen. "We wanted to dictate play and make them play our game."

Aberdeen (24-1) returns to the state semifinals Friday when it faces Class 2A West winners Fort Hill at University of Maryland's Cole Field House at 7 p.m. Aberdeen went to the state semifinals last year as a Class 3A representative. Wicomico finished 21-4.

Aberdeen staved off Wicomico, which cut the Eagles' lead to 35-34 with 7: 28 remaining in the game as Indians senior center Blair Mills made a three-pointer with 2: 33 to go.

Wicomico junior power forward James Poorman scored inside with 45 seconds left to reduce Aberdeen's lead to four points. However, Aberdeen preserved the victory with two baskets in a 15-second span.

"I think our players did a great job of dealing with Wicomico's defense," Hart said. "I have been most proud of the way we cut down on our turnovers this season. To have just two turnovers during the final quarter of play is simply outstanding."

Class 3A

No. 1 Annapolis 70, DuVal 49: The Panthers completed their parade through the 3A East region in Prince George's County with a romp at DuVal High to run their record to 25-0, the most wins in Anne Arundel County public school boys basketball history.

Outscoring three opponents in the regional by 258-149, an average of 86 to 49.6 per game, the "Panther Parade" is headed to Cole Field House Thursday for a state semifinal.

Annapolis will make its record 25th appearance at the state tournament, the 14th under coach John Brady who is in his 23rd season at 485-89 (.845).

The Panthers have a chance to become the first metro team to go 27-0, including a state championship, since Southwestern (4A) under Terry Leverett in 1996-97.

"It feels like we took a year layoff. We were supposed to be there all three years," said Annapolis junior point guard Marcus Neal, referring to when the team went to the 4A semifinals in 1998 but were upset by Meade last season in the region semis.

"But it really feels good to be going back."

Neal had 27 points yesterday to give him 76 points in three region victories, an average of 25.3 points a game. He had 29 in an 87-52 romp at Crossland Tuesday and 20 more despite coming out early in the second half of Thursday's 101-48 demolition of River Hill.

"Marcus Neal is much better than I thought he was," said DuVal coach Artie Walker.

-- Pat O'Malley contributed to this article.

Boys playoffs

(at University of Maryland

College Park)

State semifinals

Thursday

Class 4A

Meade vs. Quince Orchard, 7

Oxon Hill vs. Southern-BC, 9

Class 3A

Annapolis vs. Paint Branch, 3

Northern/Great Mills winner vs. Randallstown, 5

Friday

Class 2A

Aberdeen vs. Fort Hill, 7

Gwynn Park vs. Edmondson, 9

Class 1A

Crisfield vs. Williamsport, 3

Brunswick vs. Pikesville, 5

Finals

Saturday

Class 1A, 1

Class 3A, 3

Class 2A, 6

Class 4A, 8

Boys 2A regional final

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