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Aberdeen boys, girls capture district championships


Don Rowe, Special to The Dispatch



MOOREVILLE -- The finals of the six-team Class 3A, Region 2, District 1 basketball tournament turned into a win-win situation for Aberdeen High School on Friday night, as the Bulldogs and the Lady Bulldogs knocked off Nettleton to capture district championships. 


In the girls title game, Aberdeen built a 24-9 first-quarter advantage en route to a 68-54 win. The boys then claimed a 58-45 triumph in the fourth and final game of the night to complete the sweep. 


Both Aberdeen teams, who also carted off regular-season championships, will advance to the next round of the playoffs. The girls will the loser of the East Side-Charleston game Monday at home, while the boys will face M.S. Palmer, the No. 4 team from Region 3. 


In the girls game, Aberdeen, fresh off a 60-39 win against Nettleton that clinched the regular-season championship earlier this month, outscored the Lady Tigers by 15 points in the first quarter, but coach Grant Gardner''s squad battled back to within four points, 31-27, at halftime thanks to an 18-point second period. 


The momentum quickly turned in Aberdeen''s favor, however, when the Jameika Hoskins was fouled on a desperate 3-point attempt with no time on the clock. The Aberdeen senior calmly sank all three free throw attempts to give her team a 34-27 halftime cushion. 


The seven-point spread grew to 38-27 early in the third quarter thanks to a basket and a pair of free throws by Dayana McGee, but Nettleton again battled back to close within 46-40 before Aberdeen blew things wide open with a 20-2 run for a 66-42 lead midway through the final period. 


"Aberdeen jumped out to that big first-quarter lead and it took a great effort on our part to get back in the game," said Gardner, who was short one starter. "But then we just didn''t have enough gas in the tank down the stretch." 


Said Aberdeen coach Latorrence Bivens, "We knew coming in we were in store for a tough battle, and you have to give credit to Nettleton for battling the way they did. We told our team they (Nettleton) were going to give it their best shot, and that''s what they did." 


A balanced scoring attack paved the way for Aberdeen, as Hoskins had a game-high 23-points. Regina Barker chipped in with 12, followed by Ebony Jones (nine), McGee (eight), Janee Hodges (seven), and Michelle Stewart (six). 


"That''s what you like to see in a big game like this, balanced scoring," Bivens said. "You can''t ask for more than that." 


In stark contrast, the bulk of Nettleton''s scoring came from Camry Jones and Memory Shumpert, who combined for 41 points. Jones, who sat out much of the fourth quarter with leg cramps, had 15 points at halftime and finished with 22, while Shumpert added 19. 


"We knew we''d have trouble containing her (Jones)," Bivens said. "She''s a great player." 


n Aberdeen 58, Nettleton 45 (B): Locked in a nip-and-tuck battle and with his team tied 40-40 48 seconds into the fourth quarter, Aberdeen senior Anthony McDonald provided the spark for an 18-5 run that propelled the Bulldogs to the victory. 


After Nettleton''s O''Darius Lowe picked up back-to-back charging fouls, McDonald, who played primarily on the B-team last year as a junior, scored on two driving layups and a fallaway jumper to give the Bulldogs a 46-40 advantage midway through the fourth quarter. 


Moments later, a basket by Jeffery Riddle followed by a bucket and free throw by Jeremy Roberts increased Aberdeen''s lead to 51-43.  


Then the spotlight returned to McDonald, as he dribbled more than a minute off the clock, picked off two key defensive rebounds, made 5 of 6 free throws down the stretch and scored the final basket on a short jumper with 26 seconds left. 


"Anthony just took over there in the fourth quarter," Aberdeen coach Roy Hazzle said. "In big games like this, we need our seniors to step up and take charge, and it was good to see Anthony rise to the challenge. 


"We lost the district championship to Nettleton last year at their place and our kids were determined to reclaim it this year. We needed a game like this, and I think our team as a whole responded well. We didn''t leave anything on the court." 


McDonald finished with 19 points, including 13 in the fourth quarter. Channing Ward (10 points), Rashad Pargo (eight), Fred Ward (six), and Mario Lucas (five) also scored for the Bulldogs.  


Channing Ward, who picked off 11 rebounds, and Pargo also had a pair of crowd-pleasing dunks in the second quarter. 


"This was a typical Aberdeen-Nettleton game," said Gardner, who also doubles as the boys coach. "Aberdeen played a physical game, spread the court, took good shots, and then iced it at the free-throw line." 


Blake Birks had 15 points to lead the Tigers, and Lowe, who fouled out with 3:28 left, scored 13. 




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