Aberdeen finally got the game it was looking for and it took a big offensive night to get it.
Buoyed by their defense, the Bobcats saw junior Addam Follett score 18 of his game-high 29 points in the second half to secure a momentum-grabbing 55-42 Evergreen 2A boys basketball win over Capital on Thursday night at Sam Benn Gym.
Follett’s offensive outburst was matched by a team-wide defensive effort against the Cougars’ potent perimeter offense.
“We knew we had to get over the hump and get that first win if we want to make it to districts,” Follett said. “Our game plan was to make sure their shooters didn’t get good looks, because they are good 3-point shooters. I think we did a pretty good job of that. We needed a win to get our confidence back up.”
Over the last couple of league games, Aberdeen (1-5, 4-7) had held opponents to sub-par offensive nights, but couldn’t sustain leads or dig out of deficits on offense. Thursday night was the exception.
Employing several defenses to put pressure on Capital’s perimeter shooters, Aberdeen was rewarded with a lead that was threatened just a few times in the second quarter. The Cougars fired up 13 three-point attempts in the contest, but only hit three.
Those three treys all came in the second quarter, when Capital erased a 15-8 first-quarter lead for Aberdeen. The third trey came on an inbound play by Anthony Duncan for a 20-18 lead. The Cougars held a brief 22-21 lead with 1:10 left in the first half before Follett hit two sets of free throws — the second set on a technical foul called on Capital head coach Dave Mastin.
Aberdeen ran into the locker room with a 25-22 lead and never looked back in the second half.
Follett provided all of the offense in the third quarter, scoring all 12 Bobcat points in the frame. Scoring on jumpers and drives to the basket, the junior guard made use of Aberdeen’s patient half-court offense against Capital’s man-to-man defense.
Defensively, the Bobcats forced the Cougars to work their half-court offense longer than they wanted. The strategy worked, but Capital got points off offensive rebounds to keep pace.
“They’ve been playing phenomenal defense and the entire team has done a great job,” AHS head coach Leonard Barnes said. “Every game is based on defense. It may be a cliche, but this was a team win. We played eight guys and they all played well. I was really happy with the intensity and how quick we were moving on the floor defensively.”
Leading 37-32 after three, Aberdeen mustered a 10-2 run to seal the game. Led by junior Jacob Black, the Bobcats forced Mastin to called a frustration timeout with 4:09 left with a 47-34 lead. This was Aberdeen’s biggest lead of the game.
Black came off the bench to provide that offensive spark to go with his defensive prowess. Sitting in the low post, Black scored 10 of his 12 points in the fourth quarter, twice on offensive rebounds, twice on low-post jumpers and one on a finger-roll drive to the basket after scooping up a loose ball at the high post.
Barnes cited Black, along with Lorenzo Ontiveros, Deon Schlesser and Austin Floch for their defensive work on the night, giving Black and Ontiveros special praise for their work in the paint. Black left late in the game with an ankle injury.
Capital, which missed its final six shots from behind the 3-point line, never got closer than nine points in the final minutes.
“We finally got a taste of (a win),” Barnes added. “We just needed to get over that hump and that’s how we’ve been playing. The boys have been working hard for it. They just have to have the confidence to be strong with the ball and just relax.”
Sophomore guard Travis Miller led the Cougars with 16 points.
Today, Aberdeen takes a short trip to Hoquiam to take on the rival Grizzlies.
Capital 9 13 10 10 — 42
Aberdeen 15 10 12 18 — 55
Capital (42) — Hayden 2, Gentry 8, Pratt 2, Burlingame 8, Miller 16, Nibler, Duncan 3, Pearce 3. FG — 15-45 (.333). FT — 9-13.
Aberdeen (55) — Campbell 2, Edwards, Follett 29, Floch 5, Schlesser 2, Cheema 1, Black 12, Ontiveros 4. FG — 21-45 (.467). FT — 11-17.
JV — Capital 58, Aberdeen 51. Victor Gomez 14 points for AHS.
C Squad — Capital 42, Aberdeen 24.