By Brandon Speck/Monroe Journal
ABERDEEN – Nettleton coach Grant Gardner said it was just too much Aberdeen on Tuesday night in a matchup that decided the regular season champion of Division 2-3A.
Aberdeen (13-10, 4-0) scored the game’s first 10 points and the Bulldogs fought off Nettleton’s comeback attempts in a 78-66 win at Roy Hazzle Gymnasium.
Aberdeen’s girls clinched the regular season title with a 60-39 win.
Both teams will enter next week’s division tournament with byes. Aberdeen goes into Mooreville with the No. 1 seed.
“That’s what we wanted to do, go to the tournament as No. 1,” Aberdeen coach Roy Hazzle said. “It’s just a credit to the kids’ hard work. We finally seem to be putting things together.”
Nettleton (20-3, 4-1) pulled within 40-34 in the third on Blake Birks’ 3-pointer, but Aberdeen, No. 3 in the Daily Journal’s Class 3A rankings, closed the period on an 18-10 run that ended when Anthony McDonald scored three of his game-high 16 points off a pick that opened him up for a 3-pointer at the buzzer.
“They came out with all that senior night emotion and we did a poor job executing early,” Gardner said. “Instead of getting in our sets, we tried to make it a one-on-one ballgame. We’re not going to be successful with that. We’ve got to do what we’ve done all year.”
Aaron Andrew, bothered by an ankle injury left over from football most of the season, had a solid third, scoring nine of his 11 for Aberdeen.
Mario Lucas added 15 points for the Bulldogs.
“All of them can perform. It’s just a matter of getting out there and getting the job done,” Hazzle said. “We haven’t ducked and dodged all year. We’ve seen the tough ones and now it’s time to get ready.”
Brandon Jamison led the No. 4 Tigers with 16 points. His free throw in the second trimmed the lead to 31-27.
“Too much Aberdeen,” Gardner said. “They’re hard to beat in this building. All around they did a good job tonight.”
(G) Aberdeen 60, Nettleton 39
Without Camry Jones and Shawntina Collier, No. 3 Nettleton (18-4, 4-1) had a tough time keeping up with the No. 2 Lady Bulldogs (19-2, 4-0).
Janee Hodges scored seven of her nine first half points before Nettleton picked up its second basket.
Hodges’ basket at the 4:28 mark gave Aberdeen a 15-2 lead. The home team led 34-17 at the break.
“I told them not to put the party before the game,” Aberdeen coach Lattorence Bivens said. “I told them to have a great game, then they could celebrate.”
Without Jones at the point and Collier underneath, the Lady Tigers were without a combined 41 points per game.
Nettleton managed to get the lead to 36-23 on Amanda Adams’ third period 3-pointer, but in the fourth, Jameika Hoskins grabbed two offensive rebounds and put back two of her game-high 17 points for a 51-30 lead. The lead hit 26, 58-32 on Jamiesha Washington’s fourth period bucket.
Dayana McGee had a double-double, 13 points and 10 rebounds for the Lady Bulldogs. For Nettleton, Taylor Scott led the way with 11 points and Adams finished with 10.