Redemption was on the collective mind of Aberdeen High girls’ basketball team Thursday night against Riverdale Baptist. After two losses to the Prince George’s County private power in the last calendar year, the No. 1 Eagles seeked a different ending on their home court.
After a promising start, Aberdeen’s hopes for revenge were washed away in a rain of three-pointers. The Crusaders defeated the Eagles, 85-66, in a non-league contest.
Junior guard Tykera Carter scored 22 points for Riverdale Baptist (21-3 overall), and Auteaonna Gilmore added 21. Freshman Stephanie Jones led all scorers with 30 points for Aberdeen (13-3) and senior guard Jimmia McCluskey finished with 14 points.
The Crusaders, ranked No. 17 nationally by USA Today, connected on 14 shots from beyond the arc Thursday, to make it three in a row over the defending Class 3A champ Eagles. Last month, the Upper Marlboro school claimed a 56-41 decision in the third-place game at the National Title IX Holiday Classic at Trinity University in District.
In Upper Marlboro last February, Aberdeen suffered its lone defeat to the Crusaders, 72-51, en route to its first state crown and consensus No. 1 ranking in the area. Thursday’s result marked Aberdeen’s first home loss since a 72-69 decision against Joppatowne, Jan. 6, 2011.
Though the end result again was familiar, Stephanie Jones said the Eagles put forth a better effort against Riverdale Thursday.
“I think we played them better this game than the last game,” said Jones. “We cut down on our mistakes and we kind of kept the pressure on them more.”
Already without last season’s VSN player of the Year Bri Jones (done for season with ACL), the Eagles didn’t have starting point guard Kierra Palmer Thursday. Palmer suffered a concussion during Tuesday’s victory over Bel Air.
With Stephanie Jones and McCluskey having to do most of the ball handling duties, Aberdeen didn’t have the depth to keep pace with Riverdale Baptist, ranked No. 4 in the District region. The Crusaders led by as many 21 points in the second half.
“Without that leadership presence with a point guard, I think it took a toll on us in the end,” said Eagles coach Amber Milnes.
The Eagles were within 67-58 early in the fourth, but McCluskey, the Eagles’ undeniable sparkplug, was called for a technical foul, her fifth and final. Riverdale Baptist went a 12-1 run, capped with back-to-back three-pointers from Gilmore for a 79-59 advantage.
Aberdeen was up for the challenge early, scoring the game’s eight points before Riverdale Baptist got engaged. The Harford County school led 25-24 early in the second period after a three-pointer by Stephanie Jones. It would be the Eagles’ final lead.
Riverdale Baptist went on a 12-2 early in the third, starting with a three-pointer by Carter followed by a three-point play and another three-pointer by Gilmore, to pull out to a 53-37 advantage. The Crusaders dropped six trifectas in the third frame.
“That’s what they do, that’s their M.O.,” said Milner. “They drive, they kick and they can hit that three-point shot. They travel to national showcases and they put on showcase. We’re not going to see another team that put up shots like that for the rest of the season.”
Milner was pleased to see her team score 66 points, the second-most allowed this season by Riverdale Baptist. The Eagles begin the closing stretch of their regular season, hosting Patterson Mill Thursday in a key UCBAC match.
"Considering we were down our point guard and we have young players out there, I think they gave them a really good game," said Milner. “There’s a lot to be work on. We’re going to be just fine.”
Riverdale Baptist 85, No. 1 Aberdeen 66
Riverdale Baptist – Carter 22, Freeland 3, Gilmore 21, Jackson 19, Mickel 4, Scott 4, Singleton 7, Turner 3, Wright 3. Totals 30 11-16 85.
Aberdeen – E. Jones 8, S. Jones 30, McCluskey 14, Norton 7, Porter 5, Taylor 2. Totals 23 17-27 66.
Riverdale Baptist 23 16 27 19 – 85
Aberdeen 19 14 17 16 - 66
Last Updated (Friday, 01 February 2013 09:17)