Jones' 35 points lead Aberdeen girls to 3A title game

No. 2 Eagles' 6-foot-3 center dominates smaller Largo in 73-62 win

March 10, 2011|By Katherine Dunn, The Baltimore Sun

Aberdeen center Bri Jones picked a great time to have a career night.

The 6-foot-3 sophomore scored 35 points to lead the No. 2 Eagles to a 73-62 victory over a speedy but smaller Largo team in a state Class 3A girls basketball semifinal Thursday night at UMBC's RAC Arena.

The Eagles (24-1) will play for their first state title Saturday at 8 p.m. at UMBC against Frederick, a 61-56 winner over Howard in the other semifinal.

Jones used a combination of position, post moves and putbacks to help the Eagles break away every time the Lions (25-2) took the lead or came close. The Lions just couldn't contain her.

"I don't have a 6-footer on my team," Largo coach Ayana Ball-Ward said. "Boxing out, pushing them back and still trying to jump for rebounds is going to be hard against a 6-3 kid when all your kids are 5-9 and under."

The Lions, from Prince George's County, doubled down and tried to stick to Jones, but she scored 21 in the first half and put back five of her six offensive rebounds in the half.

"Even though it was hard because they were pushing me and it was a little struggle, I made it work," said Jones, who also had 17 rebounds. "I had help from my teammates, passing me the ball, getting it in and working it around, putting up points when we needed them."

As they have all season, Jones' teammates gave her the ball in just the right spots to exploit the mismatches. Lakeia Hayden and Ayana Stewart had three assists each, and Nia Alleyne had two.

Jimmia McCluskey helped the Eagles get off to a quick start with six of her 11 points in the first four minutes, but the Lions used their quickness and Aberdeen's turnovers to take the lead late in the first quarter. They would hold it only until the first minute of the second quarter, but they rallied with their full-court man-to-man press, cutting the margin to two with 56 seconds left in the third quarter.

After Jessica Lyons fed Parris Preston to pull the Lions within 46-44, Jones answered with a follow shot that sparked a 21-9 Eagles run. Hayden (13 points) capped the run with a 3-pointer that all but sealed the win, pushing the Eagles lead to 67-53 with 2:43 to go.

katherine.dunn@baltsun.com

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