By Brandon Speck/NEMS Daily Journal
MOOREVILLE – Bloody lip and all, Jeffery Riddle connected on the two biggest free throws of the year thus far for Aberdeen in a 65-61 Division 2-3A win at Mooreville on Friday.
The Bulldogs clinched the division with the win.
Riddle took an unintentional shot to the upper lip in the fourth quarter before coming back to seal it at the line with 13.4 seconds to play.
A win by either team would have clinched the division title with one to play. Mooreville fell to 18-6, 3-1. Aberdeen moved to 19-4, 4-0.
“They never quit punching at us,” Aberdeen coach Roy Hazzle said. “We just weathered the storm by making our free throws down the stretch and keeping pressure on them.”
Aberdeen led by as many as 13 in the second quarter but saw it evaporate on Kelton Kingsley’s 3-pointer for a 60-57 Mooreville lead with 2:07 to play.
Within a point, Aberdeen senior Shedrick Fair was fouled on a 3-point shot and sank all three free throws to put Aberdeen back ahead 62-60.
“They just kept the pressure on and there were a couple of loose balls we just couldn’t quite get ahold of,” said Mooreville coach Jeff Tally. “They’re an excellent team.”
After Aaron McMillian became the second Bulldog to foul out, Mooreville’s Kelsey Scott connected on 1 of 2 from the line to pull within 62-61.
Kenric McCoy hit a free throw for Aberdeen and Scott watched what would have been a go-ahead 3-ball rim out.
Jakeese Walker missed a pair of free throws with 19.8 to play but boarded the second miss which led to Riddle’s free throws.
“I was proud of the way our boys played,” Tally said. “To take a team like that down to the wire, I think we did a pretty good day’s work.”
Aberdeen got 13 points from Riddle and 10 from Elliot Johnson in his first game back since a leg injury on Jan 10.
Austin Timms led the Troopers with 15. Scott and Zack Sisk had 12 each.
(G) Mooreville 70 Aberdeen 52: Mooreville didn’t allow Aberdeen (4-14, 1-3) closer than 13 points in the second half and was led by Betsy Kingsley with 20 points. Katelyn Keith had 17 and Savannah Webb had 16.
Webb’s basket put the Lady Troopers (9-13, 3-1) ahead 52-31 in the third. Aberdeen got 18 from Raven Love, 14 from Sade Walker and 13 from Shay Eckford.