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Posted On: 12/27/17 9:02 PM
In the opening day of The Bernard Eckert Holiday Classic at Patterson High School, the Patterson Clippers and Perry Hall Gators collided in the second game of the evening. The event has a total of four teams. The others are Hammond High School and Gerstell Academy. In this re-match from last year’s showdown during the Christmas break, the Gators got revenge as they won by a final score of 61-58 in a game that experience a plethora of lead changes.
Here are five takeaways from the game:
Perry Hall’s size played a major role
The Gators roll out a starting lineup that includes three players who stand 6’9 in Laquill Hardnett (18 points), Anthony Higgs (9 points) and Anthony Walker (7 points). Their guards, Tyler Holley (13 points) and Terrence Johnson (6 points) both stand 6’4. Compare that to the Clippers’ starting lineup of four guards who stand 6’1 and a big man who stands 6’6, and it’s easy to see that the Gators have an overwhelming advantage in that aspect. Perry Hall mixed it up defensively between 2-3 and 3-2 zones that were lengthened with their size. Patterson did a good job of knocking down three’s throughout, but every shot inside was contested or distorted by their shot blockers. As expected, they dominated the rebounding contest as well on both ends, which helped close possessions defensively and get second-shot opportunities on offense.
Patterson had the recipe for success
When you’re in the position that the Clippers were in tonight with the size playing a factor, the three things you must capitalize on are making three’s, making hustle plays that help get you extra possessions and play with grit defensively. They checked all three boxes tonight, but slipped up at the end and game up short. The Clippers held a 36-29 lead at halftime and saw great success swinging the ball offensively, taking turns sniping Perry Hall’s 2-3 zone. Daesean Jones (15 points) and Gerard Mungo (18 points) led the way for Patterson and were big reasons why the Gators had to switch up to a 3-2 zone in order to contain their three-point shooting. The Clippers threw a full court trap press and the Gators struggled mightily to bring the ball up the floor without turning it over in the second quarter. They weren’t as successful in the second half at turning over the Gators, but still made all the right plays to keep it close as the clock winded down.
Hardnett fouls out again, but not before making his impact
In last year’s meeting against Patterson, Hardnett was disqualified due to fouls. This time, it was similar as his night ended with three minutes left in the game as Patterson was making their comeback. The 6’9 senior was his usual self throughout making plays with the ball in his hand at the top of the key. He also did a nice job moving without the ball and finding seams in the zone to catch and finish through contact to give the Gators a jolt of energy when the Clippers started to make their runs. His energy and play making are key to Perry Hall’s success and it will remain that way for the remainder of the season.
Mungo continues to play big for Patterson
Mungo has been the spark plug for Patterson all season, and it wasn’t any different tonight. The junior guard made play after play as he connected on three three-pointers and converted on seven of his eight free-throw attempts. What’s most impressive about him is his toughness. At 6’1 battling with three 6’9 players around the rim, he shows no mercy. Offensively, he attacked the rim and put his shoulder into the Perry Hall frontcourt player’s chest to draw the foul, which was a big reason why Hardnett found himself in foul trouble as the game went on. Defensively, Mungo made plays by jumping passes and forcing turnovers to create transition opportunities. He’s a player that feeds off of the crowd, so whenever he makes a play, you can tell because the gym will ignite from his reaction.
Looking forward for both teams
With the win, Perry Hall improves to 2-2 overall and will face Gerstell Academy tomorrow night in the championship game. In terms of difficulty in the coming weeks, it won’t get any easier for the already battle-tested Gators. They’ll play teams such as Dulaney, Riverdale Baptist and McDonogh all before Jan 15. They’re still trying to mesh as a team and tighten up on voids that were left from players who graduated from last year’s 4A state championship team, but the players realize it’s a process and are determined to get it right sooner rather than later.
For Patterson, they’ll face Hammond in the consolation game tomorrow afternoon. Similar to Perry Hall, they’ll take on a loaded schedule with teams that include St. Frances Academy, Riverdale Baptist and St. Maria Goretti all before Jan. 9. The loss tonight brings their record to .500 at 2-2.