2A East boys basketball

Aberdeen too tough early and late, 74-52

3rd-ranked Eagles douse rival Edgewood's hopes

High Schools

March 01, 2001|By Bill Blewett | Bill Blewett,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Last night's Class 2A East Region semifinal wasn't your typical Aberdeen-Edgewood basketball game.

The Route 40 rivalry between the schools resumed 10 miles from the highway at C. Milton Wright High in Bel Air. And though the intensity near halftime rose to levels normal for the series, Aberdeen dominated in the first and last quarters to earn a lopsided, 74-52 victory.

The No. 3 Eagles (21-3) advanced to the regional final tomorrow, continuing the defense of their Class 2A state championship.

Gary Neal led Aberdeen with a game-high 26 points. The 6-foot-4 junior scored nine points in the third period after the Rams overcame a 17-point deficit to tie the game.

Edgewood began the game with a sustained run of frustration. The Rams' Jermaine Hancock, the No. 3 scorer in the Baltimore area, was held scoreless for the first 14 minutes and, at one point, drew a foul for putting his foot into an Aberdeen pass.

The Rams trailed 23-6 in the second period before Hancock and Dwayne Howell turned the momentum. Howell hit two straight shots, then Hancock hit three three-pointers and a layup in a span of 90 seconds to close the gap to 25-21 at the half.

Hancock tied the score early in the third with a shot he launched at least six feet behind the three-point line.

"Aberdeen-Edgewood - something always happens to make it interesting," said Aberdeen coach Richard Hart. "It's always competitive and intense. It became very interesting at halftime today."

The Rams, who were without two of their starters and four other players for the game, could not sustain their rally.

"It wasn't enough," said Hancock, who set a single-season scoring record of 629 points for Edgewood this season.

The Eagles regained control and outscored Edgewood 23-9 in the third period as they pulled away. Teon Edwards hit three three-pointers for Aberdeen in the second half and completed the game with 22 points.

"They are such good athletes at all positions. They have a better basketball team," said Edgewood coach Bob Slagle. "But I'm proud of my kids. They played hard. They could have easily been blown out of here."

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