The No. 8 Aberdeen Lady Eagles battled closely with the No. 10 Meade Lady Cougars, Monday, but it was the Eagles who would post two 10-point quarters in the third and fourth to pull away with the victory, 65-45.

“Basically we played an up-tempo game.  I believe in playing 32 minutes hard,” Eagle coach Stacy Liles explained.  “My goal is to wear out the other team and make the other team tired, and I believe that we do.  It looked like we did that tonight.”

That up-tempo play was crucial in the second half, as the Eagles posted 21 points in the third quarter and added another 23 in the fourth to overcome a six-point lead after two quarters of play.

Sophomore Jimmia McCluskey was a menace to the Cougars in the second half, producing six steals and turnovers to produce seven points in the third and ended the night with 18 points in the game, being only overshadowed by one player, fellow sophomore teammate Bri Jones.

Jones totaled 28 points and eight blocks in Monday’s showdown, 10 points coming in the first quarter and 12 in the fourth, after being silenced in the second quarter and posting six points coming out of the locker room at the half.

“We just kept working hard and tried to keep playing our game,” Jones said.

“We had to give it our all because that is the only way to win,” McCluskey added.  “Playing good defense is the key to the game to get the offense.”

McCluskyOne of just two seniors on the Aberdeen squad, Ayana Stewart, proved to be more than useful in the game, tacking on 13 points in her performance, including breaking the 34-33 deficit in the third quarter that would see the Eagles never looking back.

Stewart also had four steals in the game.

“We just have to take care of the ball,” Meade coach Jonathan Mason said.  “We had 30 turnovers, and you can’t win a game with 30 turnovers.

“I didn’t expect this to come out here and get beat by 20.  Aberdeen is a good team and they came after us, we just didn’t handle things well.”The Eagles, with the help of a 10-point quarter by Jones, traded leads with the Cougars in the early goings of the first quarter, only to see the Cougars silence them to a six-point second quarter and head into the locker room with a six-point deficit at the half, 27-21.

Producing well for Meade, Imani Bailey totaled 20 points on the night, while Jaimie McKeither and Veronica Young each scored six.

“We just have to make sure we run our offense.  We were down by six and we weren’t running our offense the whole first half,” Liles said.  “We told them that if they run their offense, looking inside and dishing back out, they will have a better opportunity to win.”

The Eagles will next face the Bel Air Bobcats, Thursday, as Meade plays host to North County, Wednesday.