BY RANDY McROBERTS, firstname.lastname@example.org
9:10 PM EST, February 22, 2012
Playing less than 24 hours after suffering their first loss of the season to a nationally ranked team, the Aberdeen Eagles were back on the court Wednesday night to play for the Upper Chesapeake Bay Athletic Conference title.
Aberdeen (22-1), champions of the Chesapeake Division, easily won the conference title, beating Susquehanna champion C. Milton Wright, 70-31, at Harford Tech.
The title was the Eagles' second – they also won the conference's inaugural game in 2004 – but it didn't come without a few anxious moments.
Jimmia McCluskey (two points) went down less than five minutes into the first quarter after taking a elbow to the face. For precautionary reasons, she did not return.
Junior center Brionna Jones was knocked to the ground and into the padded wall beyond the basket early in the third quarter on a hard foul, suffering a injury to her left knee. Jones left the game shortly after and did not return in the quarter. She did, however, return to play a short time in the fourth quarter. Both players were treated with ice.
Jones had already done all the damage needed in the first half, scoring 23 of her game-high 27 points. The Eagles, though a bit sluggish, led 20-12 after one quarter and 35-21 at the half.
"I think the pressure, I mean it was a long night, but I think it did us good," Eagle coach Stacy Liles said, referring to Tuesday night's game. "We were sluggish, but I think they were still able to put it together, so they could come out and play a good game."
Aberdeen's 13-0 run to start quarter number three blew the game completely open as the Eagles lead jumped to 27 points, 48-21. CMW (17-6) scored just three points in the quarter, the first two on a Brittany Haber jumper with 2:30 left in the quarter.
The quarter ended with Aberdeen's Kierra Palmer connecting on a long three-pointer at the buzzer, her third three-pointer of the quarter. Palmer finished with 11 points, while TK Fowlkes, who took over in the paint when Jones went down, added nine points, all in the second half.
Erica Jones added eight points, scoring six big points (18-8 Aberdeen lead) in the first quarter after entering for the injured McCluskey.
Abby Smucker led the Mustangs with eight points, while teammate Allie Appleby added seven points.
Both teams emptied their benches in the final quarter, a quarter Aberdeen still won, 12-7.
"Obviously, we didn't play the pressure we could have played, because of the game last night," Liles said. "I don't think it was a bad thing, but we still need to work on little things that we saw tonight and the other team played a good game."