The Aberdeen girls basketball team won the Class 3A North Region championship Saturday, their sixth overall and first since 2013.
Fallston, meanwhile, lost at Queen Anne’s, 54-39, Saturday afternoon in the 2A East Region final.
In Aberdeen, the Eagles (22-1) beat Towson (10-9), 42-31, in a game that was much different than when the two teams met in December.
Aberdeen won that meeting 71-38 and some thoughts of that may have been lingering in the minds of Aberdeen players.
"I told the girls, that they can't go off what happened in December because, just like they developed over the season, other teams are going to develop over the season,” Eagles first-year coach Jimmia McCluskey said. “We had an idea of who we were going to get, but we didn’t know how the new team has developed.”
Early on it looked like there wasn’t much difference. The Eagles scored four quick points and Towson’s first two possessions ended with shot clock violations.
Towson coach Jennifer Hahn, also in her first year, called timeout with 5:49 to play in the opening quarter. Out of the timeout, Towson went on a 7-2 run and were suddenly ahead, 7-6.
“We’re not the same team we were in December,” Towson coach Hahn said. “We’ve come so far this season, we’ve worked so hard."
Anna Lucas scored 5-of-the-7 and Aberdeen needed a timeout with 1:34 to play.
Towson led 9-7 after one quarter and blew the lead out to seven, 14-7, less than two minutes into the second quarter.
Lucas scored all five points for the Generals who were up 16-9 before the Eagles started to come back.
The Towson lead was 18-13 when Lucas was hit with her third foul and forced to sit. That came with 4:04 to play in the half.
“As like being a leader on the team, a lot of people look up to me and when I got in foul trouble people kind of started to freak out,” Lucas said. “It kind of sucks that I got in foul trouble, but I’m proud of my team and how we did.”
Aberdeen senior Jae Deveaux, who was held scoreless in the first quarter, scored seven of her team-high 13 points in the quarter. Her three-point play pulled the Eagles to within one, 18-17, with 3:20 left.
An Anija Stancell basket pushed Aberdeen back in front, 19-18, forcing coach Hahn to call another timeout for Towson.
Towson added a basket to lead 20-19, but Aberdeen got steals and layups from Stancell and Tristyn DeVeaux to go back on top, 23-20, to end the half.
Both teams struggled to score in the third quarter before Erin Steinberg, one of five Towson seniors, knocked down a three-point shot to tie the game at 23, more than midway through the quarter.
A short time later, teammate Lucas, a junior, was back on the bench with her fourth foul.
Again, Aberdeen took advantage with Lucas out of the game. Jae DeVeaux scored four straight points and the Aberdeen lead was five, 28-23.
Ultimately, it was an 11-2 Aberdeen run that gave the Eagles a 34-25 lead through three quarters.
The Generals, though, had one more charge. Steinberg scored six unanswered points to bring Towson back to within three, 34-31, but the Generals could get no closer. Aberdeen scored the last eight points of the game.
Stancell scored Aberdeen’s first basket of the fourth quarter with 3:11 to play. Aberdeen took a timeout with 3:01 to play. From there, Tristyn DeVeaux (11 points) turned two steals into two layups and Stancell (12 points) added another steal and layup to seal the win.
"We just continued working as a team, we just couldn't give up,” Tristyn DeVeaux said of the final eight points. “We wanted this so bad and we knew nobody could take it away from us. We just kept fighting. Amazing, I’m excited."
Towson’s Steinberg led all scorers with 15 points. Lucas finished with 10, all in the first half.
"This team has more heart than any team you'll ever meet, mark my words,” Hahn said.
Aberdeen will meet Poly in Thursday’s Class 3A state semifinal at Towson University’s SECU Arena. Game time is 7 p.m.
Cougars fall short
In Fallston’s loss, the Cougars (13-13) put forth a great effort from all members, but the Lions, a state finalist a year ago, were better.
Junior guard Chantel Curry led the offense with 13 points, three rebounds and six steals, while freshman forward Allie Book contributed 11 points and two assists.
Freshman guard Jillian Crawford added nine points, two assists and one steal and senior guard Bekah Taylor finished with three points.
On the glass, freshman Amanda Sharpe had seven rebounds and a block and Lauren Gabranski had two points, one rebound and one assist.
The Cougars also got key contributions from Kelly Ann Perez, six rebounds, one steal; Adrianna Mace, three rebounds, one steal; Liz Cook, one rebound; Katie Kogler, one rebound; Mollly Mullaney, one steal; and Julia Skinner, one steal.
Reach Randy McRoberts on twitter. @aegissports