When a defense produces 23 turnovers in a game, the offense is sure to add points to the board, and such was the story of Aberdeen’s boys’ basketball regional quarterfinals win over North Harford, Monday night.
Forcing eight turnovers in the first quarter and ending the first half with 13, the Eagles held the Hawks to two consecutive seven-point quarters while posting 55 points in their 55-43 win.
“We have been working for a long time to get to play the kind of game that we played tonight,” Aberdeen coach Richard Hart said. “It takes a large part of the season for everyone to buy into that, and you get to this point in the season where it is ether that you do that or go home.
“We approached this game like any other game. We were afraid of what they might do, and we knew we had to work hard to keep them from doing it.”
The Eagles seemed to go all in on defense, using their speed and agility to step in front of passes and force the Hawks to play uncomfortable offense, going on a seven-point run to close the first quarter, and adding directly to it when opening the second with another six points and keeping the Hawks scoreless for nearly seven minutes of play.
“That is how we need to play,” Hart explained. “We don’t have the traditional post-up player, and we can’t slow down and pound it in. We play to our strength, and that’s what that defense is designed to do.”
Posting a 20-point score one minute, 20 seconds into the fourth quarter, the Eagles were well on their way to the 12-point win, seeing Gerrae Williams net the Eagles 22 points next to Tevon Saddler, who posted 14 points of his own.
Williams was on fire from beyond the arc, hitting three three-pointers, and nearly went perfect from the line in his five of seven free-throws.
“We are a fast time, and the quickness was eating that zone up,” Williams said. “We need to take out time and relax, and if we let the game come to us, it will go well.”
“We weren’t worried about the UCBAC,” Saddler said, as the Eagles were out-ranked by the Havre de Grace Warriors for a Chesapeake Division title. “We are worried about getting to the Comcast Center.
“We haven’t played our best game yet, and if we start making our lay-ups, it is going to be easy.”
Havre de Grace lost the UCBAC Championship game to North Harford, 40-36, but are now set to go head-to-head with the Owings Mills Eagles, Tuesday, in the 1A regional semis.
North Harford was able to post double-digit scores in the third and fourth quarters, much to the success of Tyler Campbell’s 11-point night, which led the Hawks in front of Thom and Tyler Lenane, who ended with nine and seven-pint nights, respectively.
Aberdeen’s next game comes against the winner of Monday night’s Parkville-Poly game, with the Eagles taking to the court on Wednesday.
“Every game is different and every opponent is different, and we don’t have the resources to have a variety of styles of play,” Hart said. “What you saw tonight is our style. We are going to push defensively and pressure defensively, and hope that gives us a lot of offense.”
Aberdeen 55, North Harford 43
NH 7 7 12 17 — 43
AB 16 11 18 10 — 55