The Aberdeen boys basketball team got a fine 26-point performance from standout guard Devon Saddler and a game-changing play from forward Horace Jackson to come away with a 56-44 win over visiting Annapolis in yesterday's Class 3A East region semifinal.
A 16-point first half from Saddler staked the No. 13 Eagles to a 30-19 halftime lead before the Panthers rallied in the third quarter.
With the Panthers in a box-and-one defense to limit Saddler, they scored the first eight points of the third quarter to cut the lead to 30-27. That's when Jackson (15 points) made the difference at both ends.
After blocking a shot near the basket, he went coast-to-coast for a layup to give the Eagles a 32-27 lead with 3:29 left in the quarter. It would be the start of an 11-1 run to give the home team a 41-28 lead goig into the fourth quarter.
Aberdeen, which will make its second straight region title game appearance (it lost to Long Reach last year), improves to 19-4 on the season, while the Panthers finish with an 18-7 mark.
"We have just worked real hard for this all year and we'll keep working hard and be ready to play" in tomorrow's regional final, said Saddler.
The Panthers got a strong effort from forward Delmore Howard, who ignited the comeback bid and finished with 20 points.
No. 1 Lake Clifton 78, Patapsco 43: : Jason Sharp had 15 points and William Barton had 14 points to lead the host Lakers (25-0) over the Patriots in Class 3A North. Lake Clifton will host Milford Mill Friday at 5 p.m.
No. 5 Walbrook 73, Woodlawn 65: : Roscoe Smith had 24 points and 12 rebounds to lead Walbrook (21-3) past Woodlawn (14-9). After being tied at 35 at the half, Walbrook led by as much as eight in the second half. Walbrook outscored Woodlawn, 17-8, in the third quarter.
No. 8 Old Mill 91, Leonardtown 55: : Marvin Salmond scored a game-high 21 points and Marvin Pinkney had 19 points to power the host Patriots (22-2) past the Raiders in a Class 4A East quarterfinal. Old Mill hosts Thomas Stone today at 5 p.m. in the semifinals.
Glen Burnie 69, No. 12 Arundel 66: : Justin Kuntz (25 points) went one-for-two from the line with nine seconds left as the visiting Gophers (17-7) upset the Wildcats (21-4). Arundel's Greg Rich hit a three-pointer and tied the score at 62 with a minute to go.
River Hill 43, Hammond 41: : The Hawks - led by Varun Ram with 13 points - went one-for-two from the foul line with three seconds left to beat the Bears (19-5). Hammonds' Chris Baker led all scorers with 19 points.
North Carroll 68, Dulaney 58: : David Birnie scored a game-high 28 points to power the Panthers (17-7) past the Lions in Class 4A North. North Carroll faces Walbrook Friday at 7 p.m.