Jones takes over third quarter, leads Aberdeen to first state semifinals since 2003

6-food-3 sophomore has 18-straight points to help Eagles pull away for 71-32

March 05, 2011|By Katherine Dunn, The Baltimore Sun

Aberdeen's Bri Jones left no question which team was going to states when she dominated the third quarter of Saturday night's Class 3A regional girls basketball championship at Hereford.

Jones, a 6-foot-3 sophomore, scored 18 straight third-quarter points and finished with 28 to lead the No. 2 Eagles to a 71-32 victory over Hereford for their first trip to the state semifinals since 2003. The Eagles (23-1) will meet the winner of Saturday night's South region final between Largo and Friendly Thursday night at UMBC.

Saturday night, the combination of Jones' inside game and Aberdeen's hot perimeter shooting, especially from Nia Alleyne, who scored 11, proved too much for the Bulls (22-2).

"I thought [the guards] did a nice job shooting the ball as well as looking inside to get it to her," Bulls coach Ellen Fitzkee said of Jones, who got only six of her 18 third-quarter points off rebounds. "The whole team, they're quick and athletic and I wish them a lot of luck. I don't know that there's a better team in 3A."

An 8-4 Bulls' run to end the second quarter pulled them within 24-12 on Julia McLaughlin's follow.

"At halftime, we talked about how they were going to come out with more intensity than they had in the first half," Aberdeen guard Lakeia Hayden said, "so we knew we had to come out with the same intensity. We had to work hard and be more patient than we already were."

Not only did the Eagles give the Bulls fits with their pressure defense, but they worked the ball well and opened the inside for Jones, feeding her in just the right spots. When Hayden gave her the ball for the last of her third-quarter points, Aberdeen led, 42-18.

"First half, it was kind of hard because they were bodying Bri and they were kind of physical," Hayden said, "so we knew that we had to work the offense to get the middle open and when she posted up, we gave her the ball and she did work in the paint."

The Bulls didn't have the big bodies or the height in 5-foot-11 McLaughlin and 6-foot Ashley Barnett to contain Jones, who also had 14 rebounds.

"She takes up a lot of space," Fitzkee said, "and so with that, when she catches the ball, she does a nice job keeping it up so unless you're her size it's going to be difficult to defend her one-on-one. We tried to double down and I thought when we did that, we did OK, but staying with that was difficult to do the whole game."

A—Alleyne 11, McCluskey 6, Stewart 4, Hayden 11, Jones 28, Oliver 2, Moore 5, Porter 4. Totals 27 14-19 71.

H—Silver 3, Bell 2, Ma.Oosterwijk 6, Mi.Oosterwijk 2, McLaughlin 6, Barnett 5, Herbenar 1, Fili 2, Ale.Gianotti 2, Passaniti 2. Totals: 14 4-7 32. Half: A, 24-12.

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