A battle of unbeatens was a close one for just three periods last night at Sam Benn Gym.
Then Aberdeen’s girls uncorked a 22-5 run that blew things wide open en route to a 58-45 victory over cold-shooting Black Hills.
The win was the Cat Ladies’ fourth of the season and their first in Evergreen 2A league play. Black Hills, which had victories over Olympia, Shelton, Elma., Union and Mountain View, now stands 5-1 overall but 0-1 in the league.
Emily Fisher and Mo Donovan paced the Bobcats’ balanced scoring with 17 and 16 points, respectively.
But it was the defense that drew the major kudos from AHS coach Aaron Roiko.
He cited 5-10 sophomore Ericka Manwell, who grabbed eight rebounds and took three charges as a key to the Bobcat defense. Roiko also pointed to free throws as another key. The Cat Ladies tanked 17 of 23 from the stripe while the visitors were blanked from the foul line until midway through the fourth quarter.
They made a total of seven gifters on the night, four of them accounting for the game’s final points.
Although the outcome remained in doubt through the first three periods, the visitors held only three leads, the first two of them in the opening moments at 2-0 and 4-2. Their last lead came after Taylor Sauls broke the halftime 26-all deadlock with a steal and solo to open the third panel.
Donovan and Fisher quickly followed with buckets and the Bobcats were in front to stay. The longest lead, prior to the fourth quarter, was at 13-6 midway through the first quarter built largely by three Fisher free throws and a drive by Manwell.
It was 14-10 at the first break; then the Wolves pulled even on buckets by T. Sauls and Lexi Tarrow.
Aberdeen opened the spread back up to five, then six as Donovan and Fisher both connected on three-balls. But the Wolves got four quick points from Shayla Smothers and evened the halftime count at 26 on a layin by Hope Mortensen.
The game was tied for the last time at 30.
Then Donovan hit a pull-up jumper with 2:38 left in the quarter and followed with a scoring drive. Alexxi Timmons tallied on a drive and the score at the third break was 36-32.
A layin by Mortensen, who topped the visitors’ scoring with 11, brought the Wolves close for the final time, at 36-34.
Then the Bobcats uncorked an 11-1 run that broke it wide open.
Kiana Dixon started it with a pair of free throws and ended it with a rebound bucket. Manwell also contributed four points and Timmons three while the Wolves’ lone point during that stretch came when T. Sauls tanked her team’s first free throw.
The Cat Ladies closed out their scoring for the night with an 11-point run that opened a 58-37 bulge. The visitors then collected the games’ last eight points.
Shooting in this one was less than a strong point on either side.
The Bobcats were under 40 percent from the field and the visitors, although their stats were unavailable, undoubtedly were even colder.
Manwell grabbed eight rebounds and Fisher six for Aberdeen. Timmons and Dixon had three steals each.
Dixon was the third Bobcat to score in double figures with 10.
Timmons tanked nine and Manwell six as the starters accounted for all of AHS’ points.
In fact, AHS had only eight players suited up for the varsity tilt.
“We’re not deep,’’ Roiko admitted. “But we’re playing together. I think a lot of people forgot about us in the pre-season.’’
The Bobcats will travel to Longview on Thursday to meet R.A. Long in another non-leaguer.
BH 10 16 6 1 3 — 45 Aber 14 12 10 23 — 58
Black Hills (45) — McGee 8, Mortensen 11, Nurmi, T. Sauls 7, Smothers 6, Furu 6, S. Sauls 4, Tarrow 2, Noyen 1. FG n/a, FT n/a.
Aberdeen (58) — Timmons 9, Dixon 10, Manwell 6, Fisher 17, Donovan 16, Schermer, Walsh, Blackburn. FG — 19-56 (.339). FT — 17-23.
JV — Black Hills 48, Aberdeen 35. Makenna Roiko 8 for AHS.