Aberdeen played one good quarter of basketball, but it came in the final eight minutes and helped the visiting Eagles put away Joppatowne last night, 77-61, in a Harford County League game.
The game turned around for the last time after Joppatowne (9-3, 3-2) rallied to slice a 10-point deficit to one in a two-minute span that left it trailing, 57-56, with 3:30 left.
Darnell Everett's three-point goal had the Mariners rolling at that point, but at the other end, Aberdeen missed successive shots before Fred Cole put back a rebound.
A moment later, Maurice Guy fed Jimmy Greene for a layup and the Eagles (9-4, 5-2) went on to get a basket from Toby Jordan and two free throws from Cole for a 66-58 lead. The final two minutes were a foul-shooting contest for the visitors.
"The game turned on that series after we cut it to one," Joppatowne coach Mike Bauer said.
"We made a lot of mistakes -- Aberdeen forces you to do that -- but we played a lot harder and with more intensity than we did in some of our wins."
The Mariners have a rough road ahead, too, for they still have to play Edgewood, C. Milton Wright and Fallston twice each. Next week they will have three road games. Aberdeen won't have it easy next week either with Havre de Grace, Bel Air and Fallston.
Aberdeen, like Joppatowne coming off an overtime victory Tuesday, expended a lot of energy, but got little done in falling behind, 14-5, in the first quarter. It had more turnovers than points.
"I sat several starters for awhile to get their attention and let them know there was no such thing as a nine-point shot," Aberdeen coach Ron Petrey said. "Players want to get those points right back, but I told them to take it a possession at a time, a basket at a time."
Cole's three-point shot at the end of the quarter left Aberdeen down, 14-8. Joppatowne got the first basket, and two foul shots later it was 18-8. From there, several turnovers led to defensive woes for the home side.
Slowly but surely the Eagles worked their way back. The gap was five with 3:30 to go and down to two for the second time going to the last 20 seconds.
In that stretch, Jordan's first basket made it 24-22; he missed successive shots but controlled a second rebound and got the ball to Hosea Edwards for a short banked shot and his subsequent free throw pushed Aberdeen ahead for the first time, 25-24, at the half.
A seven-point run early in the third quarter enabled the Eagles to stretch their margin to 36-30 and they protected that lead until the Mariners' brief last-period flurry.
A Mariners bright spot was 6-foot-7 senior Chris Gephardt, who went up, over and around people for nine baskets and a team-high 23 points before fouling out in the late going.
Cole led all scorers with 26 points, backed by Jordan with 16 and Edwards, 15. The architect of much of this was senior Maurice Guy, making his first appearance of the season.
A starter last year, he encountered some school problems and only recently returned to the team. "I told him I wasn't going to give him his spot; he had to earn it," said Petrey. "He worked his way back into the lineup and deserved to start."
Guy and guard Jimmy Greene work well together and they orchestrated an offense that kept Joppatowne off balance and a defense that played well enough to get the job done.