The No. 14 Fallston girls and the Aberdeen boys had little trouble repeating as Upper Chesapeake Bay Athletic Conference champions last night.
Fallston took charge early and locked up a third consecutive UCBAC title with a 57-37 victory over North East-Cecil at Harford Community College. Aberdeen had a harder time but pulled away late for a 63-47 win over Perryville and its fourth straight boys conference crown.
The Fallston girls used presses and traps to shut down in the North East-Cecil offense throughout their victory. The Cougars constantly disrupted the Indians by hounding them all over the court, which helped them take a big early lead.
Fallston (19-4) forced 12 turnovers in the first quarter and made 25 steals overall. The Indians couldn't find any offensive rhythm as the Cougars also pressured them in half-court situations.
The Cougars' defense held North East (11-7) to just one first-quarter basket - which took the Indians nearly six minutes to make - as Fallston needed a little more than five minutes to take a 10-point lead.
Fallston rolled to a 32-12 halftime lead and cruised to the victory.
"If the [presses and traps] click, then everything falls in line," Fallston coach Vern Brown said. "It's all contingent on how well we start, and that's what happened today."
Kristen Steiner led the Cougars with 13 points and Lindsay Howard added seven as 11 Fallston players scored. Fallston moves on to the Class 3A East regional playoffs tomorrow, hosting Wilde Lake.
In the boys game, Aberdeen (13-7) also used its quickness to slow the Perryville offense. The Eagles limited the Panthers to one first-quarter basket and three in the first half.
But Aberdeen's foul troubles helped Perryville (14-5) stay close as the Eagles held just a 27-18 halftime lead. Aberdeen coach Richard Hart was delighted at how strongly his bench played.
Point guard Ken Telsee came in and helped the offense settle down at times. Darnell Blevins (eight points) and Roger Murayi (nine points) each made a number of key offensive plays.
"One of the things that I like about this team is I've got 10 guys, and any of them can play an important role," Hart said. "We had some people come off the bench and play well."
Aberdeen held a 38-29 lead after three quarters, but the Eagles broke it open in the fourth, scoring 25 points. Stephan Robinson scored 11 of his 13 points in the quarter and Devon Branch got nine of his team-high 20.
"We were penetrating and dishing it off more," Branch said. "They were slow in rotating to the ball."
James M. Bennett comes to Aberdeen to start the Class 3A East regional playoffs tomorrow night.