It took two overtime periods, but Aberdeen, thanks primarily to the efforts of junior guard Tyrell Williams, held off C. Milton Wright on Tuesday evening.
Williams led the Eagles (2-0, 1-0 Upper Chesapeake Bay Athletic Conference) with 31 points — 17 of them coming in the second half and overtime — and senior teammate Jeremiah Stewart added 17 points of his own in a 94-89 victory.
Sophomore Donovan Peyton (15 points) and freshman Tylan Bass (11) also finished in double figures for an Aberdeen team that scored the final five points to secure the win. Williams accounted for two game-sealing layups following a made foul shot by Jaheim Jones that had put the Eagles ahead by one, 90-89.
On the other side, Bryan and Jordan Stiemke scored 23 points apiece to keep C. Milton Wright in the game until the very end.
“We just played our basketball,” Aberdeen interim coach Antwone Williams said. “C. Milton [Wright] is a very good team, they’re very fundamental. So if we just play our basketball, get up and down the court, play defense full court, we’ve got a lot [of good basketball] ahead of us.”
The opening quarter gave little indication that the game would turn into the shootout that it became. Both offenses struggled with the other’s defensive pressure early on, leading to a first period where the Eagles and the Mustangs (1-1, 0-1 UCBAC) tallied a combined 25 points.
C. Milton Wright started things off with seven unanswered points, with Jordan Stiemke scoring five of them. A Peyton 3-point shot from the corner ended the run with 6:18 left in the first period and, from there, Aberdeen widdled the lead down to one by the end of the frame.
After that, the Eagles started to build some offensive consistency that stemmed from their pressing defense, which forced the Mustangs into turnovers that turned into easy layups on the other end. In the half-court, Aberdeen broke down C. Milton Wright’s zone defense with either drive-and-kicks to draw in defenders and set up open 3’s or quick passes to take advantage of late rotations.
The Eagles built a 58-48 lead by the end of the third quarter.
“They weren’t able to run a lot, so we just got them on fast breaks,” Williams said. “And their defense was so spread out, we just got to the middle easily.”
But C. Milton Wright, which won 20 games last year and brought back an abundance of upperclassmen from that squad, continued to hang around, even after senior center Corey Patterson was ejected after picking up two technical fouls.
Through the final 4:27 of regulation, the Mustangs outscored the Eagles 16-3. A 3-pointer from C. Milton Wright senior center Cameron Doherty (18 points) completed the comeback and forced overtime.
The first extra period was a tug-of-war that saw the Eagles gain a four-point edge before C. Milton Wright once again clawed back, with Jordan Stiemke knocking down a pair of free throws to square things at 77.
It was much of the same in the second overtime, with both teams scoring in bunches. After C. Milton Wright started fast, Bass hit a pair of 3-point shots to keep the Eagles within striking distance. Then, following a layup by Doherty that put the Mustangs ahead by three, Aberdeen junior guard Amonte Williams made a three from the corner to tie the game at 89.
That set the stage for Jones to make the free throw that gave the Eagles a lead they never lost again.