Boasting a busted lip, Joppatowne’s Zameria Jones talked about the importance of her team’s victory Thursday evening over Aberdeen.

“This is our rival,” said Jones, who suffered the lip injury battling for a loose ball during the spirited contest. “This team plays us like it’s a championship so we couldn’t let them win.”

In a battle of unbeatens, the No. 3 Mariners held off the No. 5 Eagles, 72-69, in an Upper Chesapeake Bay Athletic Conference Chesapeake Division contest. Jones, a senior guard, led all scorers with 27 points for Joppatowne (10-0 overall, 3-0 UCBAC Chesapeake).

TroiQuay Malloy had the biggest play for the defending Class 1A state champs, intercepting an Aberdeen pass and went to the basket for a layup, drawing an intentional foul with 3.7 seconds left remaining in regulation. She converted a free throw for the eventual final margin.

“I didn’t want to let my team down,” said Malloy, a sophomore who finished with five points. “I just saw the ball and went straight to the basket.”

Aberdeen stole the ensuing the inbound pass and called timeout with 3.1 seconds remaining. Nia Alleyne’s game-tying three-point attempt missed, securing the 26th consecutive victory for the Mariners dating back to last season.

Shakara Head added 20 points for Joppatowne, and Pez Scott finished with 13. Sophomore center Bri Jones had 26 points and 18 rebounds for Aberdeen (9-1, 2-1 UCBAC Chesapeake) with Alleyne and Ayana Stewart each contributing 13.

“They’ve been in all types of situations,” said Joppatowne coach Michael Harris, whose team has beaten three Top 10 squads over its last four decisions. “Champions don’t believe they’re going to lose.”

Jones, who helped the Mariners to the state 1A crown last winter, singlehandedly took over midway in the final quarter. The 5-foot-5 guard split through three defenders for a layup, breaking a 56-56 tie. She answered a Bri Jones’ score for Aberdeen, finding Pez Scott on the wing for a three-pointer before draining one of her own. Jones’ free throw made it 65-58 with about three minutes remaining in regulation.

“I just wanted to leave it all out on the court,” said Zameria Jones. “We knew they were going to make a run, and whatever run they make, we were going to make a bigger one.”

Zameria JonesThe Mariners led 67-61 with more than two minutes remaining in regulation before Aberdeen scored eight straight, capped by Bri Jones’ rebound and basket with 22 seconds left for a 69-67 advantage. Zameria Jones drove towards the basket and dished off to Head for a layup, tying the game with 14 seconds to play.

Malloy, a transfer from St. Frances Academy, made like Baltimore Ravens safety Ed Reed, coming halfway across court near the sidelines to intercept an Alleyne pass intended for Stewart with about eight seconds left. She went straight to the basket for the score, with Alleyne getting called for the intentional foul. The play atoned for Malloy’s turnover that led to Bri Jones’ lead basket seconds earlier.

“She does that in practice,” said Zameria Jones. “She’s a big defensive player in the post so it’s not surprising.”

Joppatowne sent Eagles reeling early, building a 20-4 advantage going to the basket seemingly at will. Aberdeen picked its defensive pressure and worked the ball inside to Bri Jones, who was held scoreless in the first quarter, to pull even at halftime at 31.

Bri Jones’ rebound and basket gave the Eagles their largest lead at 42-37 midway in the third quarter before Joppatowne even things up heading into the fourth. The Mariners appeared in control after Zameria Jones’ surge, but Aberdeen refused to succumb to its Harford County rivals.

“They get hyped for this game, they think it’s more important than any game they play,” said Aberdeen coach Stacey Liles. “You could see that in the first quarter they came out frantic. In the second half, we needed to do a better job defending Zameria Jones, she’s their best player.

They played a great game and worked their butts off; I couldn’t ask them to play any harder.”

Round two is February 10 at Joppatowne.

“These girls grew up together, they work together, play AAU together,” said Harris. “They know each other.”



No. 3 Joppatowne 72, No. 5 Aberdeen 69
Joppatowne: Malloy 5, Jones 27, Head 20, Lewis-Orr 4, Patton-Hill 2, Scott 13. Totals: 30 6-10 72.
Aberdeen: Alleyne 13, Stewart 13, Jones 26, Hayden 8, McCluskey 9. Totals: 25 15-22 69.
Halftime: Joppatowne 31, Aberdeen 31