February 17, 2009
ABERDEEN -- A championship basketball team''s competitive spirit must trickle down from the top.
Nowhere was this spirit more evident Monday night than with Aberdeen High School girls basketball coach Cloyd Garth.
Hours earlier, Garth received a pass from his two-day hospital stay to return to the court to coach his team in the Class 3A North Tournament play-in game against Lexington-McClain at the Aberdeen High.
"I had to convince my doctors I had to be out on the court," Garth said. "After the game, I am supposed to return for more tests."
Garth''s competitive edge rubbed off on his players.
Jameika Hoskins was all over the court and scored a game-high 32 points to lead Aberdeen to a 63-52 victory.
"We knew we had to come and play hard so we can make it back to where we were last year in the state championship and beat whoever we have to play," Hoskins said.
The Lady Bulldogs lost the Class 3A-Region 2 title to Houston last Friday night.
Aberdeen (26-5) led 16-4 until 2 minutes, 33 seconds remained in the first quarter when Lexington''s Alexanderia Walden (31 points) directed an eight-point surge to end the period.
Walden proved difficult to block out under the basket all night.
The Lady Bulldogs began the second quarter with two free throws by Michelle Stewart, who was fouled after a steal by Dayna McGee.
Lexington (14-16) tied the game at 22 on a basket by Walden with 3:48 left before halftime.
Hoskins'' steal and layup gave Aberdeen a 31-26 halftime lead.
It was all Aberdeen in the second half.
The Lady Bulldogs built a 59-44 lead with 3:37 remaining led by a dominating performance by Hoskins and strong play underneath by Stewart.
Walden proved to be a formidable opponent, driving into the paint and muscling underneath all night long, but Lexington''s numerous turnovers proved too costly.
Garth sent in his bench players as time ran down to give them valuable playoff experience.
"We tried to play some girls that normally don''t play," Garth said. "You never know when you''ll need some of our players going down the stretch. Jameika and Sally (Davis) really set the pace. Michelle rebounds well down low and putting it back."
Stewart scored 11 points for the Lady Bulldogs and Regina Barker added seven.
Lexington coach Marcy Gibson was pleased with her team''s effort despite all of the turnovers.
"We did pretty good," Gibson said. "It was a good learning experience. Our juniors are our best athletes, but they could not go up and get the basketball. They (Aberdeen) were more aggressive than we were."
Jasmine Thomas scored eight points for the Lady Mustangs.
Aberdeen advances to play Ripley at 5:30 p.m. Thursday at Houston.