Aberdeen's defense gave its offense a spark that Bel Air couldn't handle in the second quarter of last night's game. The visiting Eagles stepped up their defensive pressure and forced seven turnovers in the quarter, then pulled away to a 73-47 victory in an Upper Chesapeake Bay Athletic Conference game.
Bel Air (6-6, 1-3) wanted to slow the tempo and did a good job of it early, taking a 17-15 lead in the first minute of the second quarter. But Aberdeen (9-1, 3-0) went to a tough man-to-man defense that gave the Bobcats little room to run.
The Eagles then forced several turnovers that fueled a 21-2 run. Devon Saddler led Aberdeen with 19 points, and Tyre Moore scored 12 of his 17 in the second quarter. Eight of Moore's points came on layups, and Aberdeen had no turnovers in the first six minutes of that period.
"We played straight-up man-to-man, and we started to do the things we've been working on," Aberdeen coach Richard Hart said. "Bel Air was a little bit handcuffed."
That tough defense also let the Eagles go to the running game they like so much. They got a number of fast breaks in the period, with Moore, Saddler, Rudy Johnson (16 points) and Devon Branch (eight points) getting several scoring chances en route to a 25-point period and a 40-24 halftime lead.
"Coach harps on us [to play] team defense," Johnson said. "We just stepped it up tonight."
Donn Hill led Bel Air with 16 points, and Lionel Perkins and Eric Chizmar added 11 apiece, but only five Bobcats scored. Bel Air never got into a good rhythm on offense and couldn't get past the second-quarter problems.
"They got a lot of easy transition baskets," Bel Air coach Nate Weigl said. "They used their speed, and they're definitely well coached."