Five Takeaways: Perry Hall vs Paint Branch

High School

Posted On: 03/5/18 3:09 PM

This past Saturday, the 4A North Regional championship game took place at Paint Branch High School between Paint Branch and Perry Hall. There was plenty of anticipation and tension heading into the this match up considering the two teams met in last year’s regional title game, which Perry Hall ended up winning.

History repeated itself once again as the Gators one their third-straight regional championship by the final score of 88-75. Here are some takeaways from the game that was much closer than the final score indicated.

Hardnett leads the way

With 5:29 left in the third quarter, Perry Hall barely held onto a two-point lead. And then LaQuill Hardnett happened. The Cincinnati commit exploded for 15 of his team-high 26 points in the second half and helped balloon the Gators to a double-digit lead entering the fourth quarter. He was determined in attacking the basket and seeking contact in order to draw fouls. He converted 10 of his 12 free throws in the second half, seven of which occurred in the final frame. It’s as simple as this, when Hardnett is focused and decides to take over a game, there aren’t many players that can do much about it. His versatility at 6-foot-9 makes him a match up nightmare.

Dudley explodes in the first half

Paint Branch junior guard Richard Dudley couldn’t seem to miss in the first 16 minutes of action. He finished with first half with 25 points that included five three-pointers. Dudley finished with a game-high 34 points, but was limited in the second half because of Perry Hall’s willingness to switch defenses. The performance that Dudley put on was special and shouldn’t be overshadowed by the loss. He was the leader for the Panthers all season long and although the scoreboard didn’t read in their favor, he sent a message for what’s to come next season.

Walker with another big performance

This has become a routine ordeal for Perry Hall. The 6-foot-9 junior was a force on both ends around the rim, finishing his usual explosive slam dunks and blocking shots on the defensive end. There were also a few plays that showcased Walker’s improvement in terms of decision-making and versatility. One specifically in the second half when he caught the ball on the right side of the high post, looking for a high-low set up with teammate Anthony Higgs. Instead he jabbed at his defender, rose up and buried a jumpshot. Another instance when Walker had the ball on the right wing beyond the three-point line, Hardnett set a ball screen and quickly rolled to the basket. Walker was able to effectively use the screen and deliver a solid pass to the rolling Hardnett for an easy two. Walker continues to get more confident with his ability to operate on the perimeter.

Reeves shuts down the gym

The Panthers were reeling in the first half. Not only making shots from deep, but also keeping a fast-paced game and converting in transition. This particular play for senior Xavier Reeves happened in the halfcourt when Perry Hall’s zone rotation was late. I’ll just let the video speak for itself.

Three-peat complete

The Gators are now the 4A North champions for the third year in a row. After a very shaky start to the season, it seems as if this team is rolling on all cylinders at the most important time. Now, they head to the Xfinity Center to face off against a young and talented Gaithersburg team. We’ll see if they can stick to their winning ways as they look to repeat as state champions.