LARGO — The last time a Baltimore-area team captured the prestigious IAABO Holiday Girls Basketball Tournament, now in its 39th year, was 13 years ago.
Aberdeen changed that Wednesday night — and did so rather decisively in the championship game against Wise from Upper Marlboro.
In a title game featuring undefeated teams, the No. 1 Eagles proved far dominant at both ends of the floor, rolling to an 82-44 win at Prince George's Community College.
Senior center Brionna Jones, who was named the tournament's Most Valuable Player, led an efficient offense with 30 points, and a trapping zone defense was too much for the Pumas (7-1).
After switching to the zone defense late in the first quarter, the Eagles (8-0) scored 19 unanswered points to turn a one-point deficit into a 32-14 lead with 1:56 to play in the half. Jones, who finished 14 of 17 from the field and added 13 rebounds, scored 12 straight at one point in the first half, collecting entry passes inside from five different teammates.
"We just started working well as a team, passing the ball around, and we got open shots and it led to us winning the game," Jones said. "This is the first time we actually played our game the whole game and beat a good team like this. It just clicked today."
Senior guard Nia Alleyne was named to the all-tournament team after finishing with 15 points, five rebounds and four assists. Senior guard Lakeia Hayden added 14 points, including four three pointers, and Takiara Fowlkes (12 points) and Jimmia McCluskey (11 points) also reached double figures.
Just how impressive were the Eagles in besting the talented eight-team field? In the past three days, they beat three quality opponents by an average of more than 30 points per game. St. Mary's was the last area team to win the title.
"It's nice that we were invited to come down here so people know who Aberdeen is," coach Stacy Liles said. "A lot of people know who Brionna is, but they don't know about the other talent we have on the team, so it's good to be here and hopefully we'll come back."
The Pumas showed their athleticism early, getting some points in transition and a couple follow baskets to keep it close. But once Aberdeen went to its zone defense and started effectively getting the ball inside to Jones on offense, the Eagles' lead continued to grow. Liles was pleased to see the complete team effort come in such a big game.
"The girls came together tonight," she said. "They all played well, they all stepped up their game and they all played team basketball."
IAABO Holiday Tournament
(at Prince George's Community College)
No. 1 Aberdeen 82, Wise 44
A – B. Jones 30, Alleyne 15, Hayden 14, Fowlkes 12, McCluskey 11. Totals: 35 5-14 82.
W – Gibson 11, Lee 10, Cosey 12, Brooks 5, Ross 4, Jackson 1. Totals: 20 3-9 44.
Half: A, 38-20Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun