In the latest thrilling chapter of a constantly evolving rivalry, Havre de Grace guard Josiah Scott banked in a 3-pointer as time expired Tuesday evening to help the Warriors pull out a 68-67 win over Aberdeen.
“You never know what’s gonna happen,” Scott said. “[A teammate] may need to kick the ball out to you, so my job was to get open and Marlon [Lewis] found me.”
Scott’s three, along with some timely defense, allowed the still undefeated Warriors (5-0) to survive a tough road test against a game opponent in an atmosphere that resembled a state playoff game as opposed to an early-season match-up in mid-December.
“I told our guys in the locker room that a win like this can catapult you through your season and help carry you through,” Havre de Grace head coach Brian Eberhardt said. “It’s a big win, I was very proud of those guys.”
Sophomore forward Marlon Lewis led all scorers with 23 points to go along with several blocks and shot contests in the paint to help keep Havre de Grace in the game until the closing seconds.
“I kind of lost it in the beginning,” Lewis said. “I had to slow myself down, focus, and create as many buckets as possible and create open shots for my teammates.”
Early on, both teams struggled to get any sort of offensive flow going, as Havre de Grace’s length forced an abundance of missed layups inside by the host Eagles.
On the other end, Aberdeen’s (1-3) zone defense forced the Warriors into a number of unforced errors when they weren’t settling for deep 3-pointers.
“It was tough,” Eberhardt said. “We had some guys in foul trouble, that took us out of our flow early, so I give a lot of credit to some of the guys that came off our bench tonight that made this win possible.”
Havre de Grace did break down the Eagles’ zone defense with some solid passing that created some easy layups — and a couple of thunderous baseline dunks by Lewis that brought the Havre de Grace contingent to their feet. But numerous giveaways kept the Warriors from maintaining any sort of consistency on that side of the floor.
The teams would trade the lead several times through the first three quarters, but Aberdeen attempted to pull away midway through the third frame.
The Eagles led by as many as six with 2:20 remaining in the third and eventually built an eight-point lead with less than five minutes left in regulation. But the Eagles’ inability to take care of the ball — some turnovers unforced, and some aided by the full-court press the Warriors employed late in the game — and several critical misses at the free throw line allowed unbeaten Havre de Grace to stay alive.
“I kept telling the guys ‘We’re gonna stay calm and do what we do’,” Eberhardt said. “We’re gonna run our offense, we’re gonna be patient, we’re not gonna push.”
Senior guard Jaquane Hayes led Aberdeen with 15 points, doing most of his damage after intermission. Fellow upperclassman Mo Whitley added 13 points, while also making several big defensive plays.
Aberdeen has a quick turnaround after the tough loss, as they host Harford Tech on Dec. 19. Conversely, the Warriors will get an extended holiday break before putting their unblemished record on the line against Edgewood on Jan. 4.