McKenney-George's buzzer-beating 3-pointer leads Havre de Grace boys basketball past Aberdeen 66-65

·4 min read

Jan. 22—Havre de Grace senior Dominik McKenney-George drained a 3-point shot at the buzzer Friday night to lift the Warriors to a 66-65 win over visiting Aberdeen in an Upper Chesapeake Bay Athletic Conference Chesapeake Division game.

The game-winner brought an end to a game filled with many big shots and some big blocked shots. The Warriors (8-3, 4-3) have now won three times in four days, while the loss snapped Aberdeen's (9-3, 6-1) nine-game winning streak.

"I know, it doesn't always have to be me taking the last shot" McKenney-George said. "I was hot the whole game, but it's when I was open. I knew, with eight seconds on the clock, I've got to take the last shot. I knew the defender was going to bite on the pump fake and I just let it fly. I've been waiting for this moment, so I was ready when it happened."

Aberdeen took a 65-63 led on an improbable 3-pointer from Artarus Brown. From the corner, Brown's shot caught a piece of the backboard glass and glanced in with 10 seconds left to play. It seemed like it might be enough for an Eagles win, but the Warriors alertly called timeout with 8.1 seconds left.

McKenney-George grabbed the inbounded ball, dribbled up the center of the court to the top of the key. He stepped inside the 3-point line with his dribble and as the Aberdeen defender flew by, he stepped back and tossed in the big shot.

"Even if I miss, I shoot every shot with confidence," McKenney-George said.

Aberdeen scored the first six points of the game and led 9-2 early, but McKenney-George, who led all scorers with 22 points, scored seven straight to knot the game at 9.

Donovan Peyton's 3-pointer to close the first quarter gave Aberdeen a 17-15 lead.

Havre de Grace used a boost of energy from freshman Jason Hayes in the second quarter to pull even at 21. Hayes handed out a pair of assists on baskets from Jun Mun, who finished with 10 points.

The game was locked 25 late in the half when Aberdeen took advantage of free throw opportunities from fouls and a technical foul against the Warriors bench.

Peyton made two, as did Tylan Bass who also made three, 3-point baskets in the quarter. Bass' third came at the buzzer, giving Aberdeen a 38-32 halftime lead.

Bass, who led Aberdeen with 21 points, scored five points in the third quarter, but the Eagles scored just 10, while Havre de Grace rallied for 17 third-quarter points and a 49-48 lead.

Havre de Grace senior Will Lawder was shut down early but came alive over the final eight minutes.

Lawder's block at one end led to his follow-up basket at the other to open the fourth quarter and push the Warriors lead to 51-48.

Havre de Grace led 55-53 with 5:16 to play and Warriors coach Brian Eberhardt calling timeout.

Out of the stoppage, it was McKenney-George and two scoring drives to the basket to give his team its largest lead, 59-53.

The Warriors lead was still six, 61-55, with 2:41 to play, but Aberdeen responded. Darion Parris knocked down a 3-pointer and Ru Mubia added four points pushing Eagles back in front, 62-61, with a minute left.

With :25 left, it was Lawder with a steal and fast-break basket to put the Warriors back on top, 63-62, and set up the final dramatics by both teams. Lawder finished with 12 points, 11 rebounds and six blocks.

"It's Aberdeen-Havre de Grace, you knew that it was going to be that way," Eberhardt said. "Heckuva game, Aberdeen is extremely talented and well coached and we just dug in and kept hanging around."

Braydyn Malloy added 13 points for the Warriors.

Brown and Peyton both finished with 10 points for Aberdeen. Peyton also had seven assists, while Bass added seven rebounds. Mubia finished with six points, eight rebounds, four assists and five blocks.

"It's a rivalry that even without fans is probably the best in the county and me as a coach, my first time as a head coach experiencing it, and it was all that we thought it would be," Aberdeen coach Bill Jones said. "It was hard-fought and we had a chance to give up, but I give our kids credit for battling to the end. Dominik made a great shot and he won it and as I told our kids, their best player beat us."