Following a narrow, 60-59 victory over host Wicomico on Saturday night in the 2A East Regional title game, the Patterson Mill Huskies are headed to the boys basketball state tournament for the first time in team history.
The Huskies, who fielded their first varsity team in 2007, advanced to the 2A East title matchup in 2012, but were stopped there with 47-42 road loss to Easton. For this year's regional final, the Huskies took a long bus ride to the Eastern Shore again, but this time around they were celebrating on the trip back.
"All this week leading up to the regional final, I've told the guys to come out with a championship attitude," Patterson Mill head coach Jeroud Clark said. "I said if we show up and play like we belong there, we'll be fine. That attitude is what will get us to the state tournament."
Having a career night, and amounting for more than half of the Huskies' total offensive output, was C.J. Keyser, who netted 32 points.
Bryce Butler and Rahmon Felder both had eight points in the victory, while Malik Bonds and Dajuan Madden each had five points.
The Huskies, the second seed from the 2A East Section I, went into the halftime break trailing, 33-29.
Patterson Mill will play a state semifinal game at 7 p.m. Friday against 2A West champ Oakdale at UMD's Comcast Center.
"The key to staying in the tournament will be how well our bench contributes," Clark said. "If we get strong games, quality minutes from the bench, we will be in a good position."
Edgewood and Joppatowne were knocked out of the boys basketball post-season Friday night – the Rams lost 72-53 to Milford Mill, while the Mariners fell 70-59 to Crisfield.
The Rams, the sixth seed in the 3A North Section II, kept the visiting Millers close through the first quarter, which ended with the guests ahead, 19-16.
After pulling out to a 32-24 lead by the final two minutes of the first half, the Millers watched Edgewood answer with five straight points, the last of which came on an acrobatic tip-in by Keyon Williams following a steal and a missed shot from Roderick Harrison. At the halftime buzzer, the Millers, the top seed from the Section I tournament, were holding a 32-28 advantage.
Milford Mill came out attacking in the third quarter, scoring 10 points before the Rams could post their first tally of the second half. Tyrone McKissett ended the nearly four-minute scoring drought with a three-pointer, but by that point the Millers were ahead, 42-31. By the end of the quarter, Milford Mill was up, 54-40.
"We were in a position to shock some people tonight," Edgewood head coach Kenny Porritt said. "I didn't think we were outmatched, but [Milford Mill] came out in the third quarter and had that run. That's where they won the game."
In the fourth quarter, Edgewood cut the Millers' lead down to 59-51 after McKissett nailed another three-pointer with just over two minutes to play, but Milford Mill outscored the hosts, 13-2 down the stretch to seal up the victory.
"We had a lot of doubters this season," Porritt said. "I'm sure some people didn't think we'd make it this far, but here we are. I'm proud of my guys and the way they played tonight. They didn't hang their heads one time, they kept battling. Milford Mill is one of the best public school teams in the state. We knew that coming in, and we didn't back down."
Immanuel Gladden-Stokes scored 15 points for Edgewood, while McKissett netted 12 and Keyon Williams, 11.
Milford Mill's Justin Jenifer, who started his career with the John Carroll squad before transferring, led his team with a 20-point effort.
The Mariners were stopped one step shy of the state semifinals for a second year in a row on Friday night, losing 70-59 to host Crisfield in the 1A East regional championship game.
Joppatowne and Crisfield were the top-seeded teams for the 1A East Section I and Section II, respectively.
The Mariners' Sir Nicolas Phillips led his team in two categories, posting 18 points and pulling down 13 rebounds. Gary Blackston had 16 points, 12 rebounds, two steals and three blocks in the loss, while Khalil Gore had 11 points, three rebounds and two assists. Jermaine Head Jr. had team-high totals of seven assists and six steals, while also netting nine points. Will Veney scored five points.
The Mariners, who forfeited home-court advantage for the entirety of the regional tournament because of a rules violation, made their way to the title game with victories over Perryville and Kent County.
Joppatowne reaches finals
With an 80-71 road victory over Kent County in the 1A East semifinal round Thursday, the Joppatowne Mariners earned their spot in a second straight boys basketball regional championship contest.
The Mariners, top seed in the 1A East Section I, made it to the 2A East final last year, when they were topped in the regional title contest by Wicomico. In this year's 1A East final, Joppatowne will travel to play Section II top seed Crisfield on Friday at 6 p.m.
Joppatowne led second-seeded Kent County, 39-35, at the halftime of Thursday's game.
Leading the Mariners' offense was Sir Nicolas Phillips, who poured in 28 points. Gary Blackston added 18 points in the victory, while Khalil Gore had 15 points. Jermaine Head Jr. had 12 points and Dominic Smith scored five for Joppatowne.
Blackston and Phillips led the Mariners in rebounds with 12 apiece, while Head posted team-high totals of nine assists and seven steals.