Hoping to calm any fears about playing in front of a hostile crowd, Patterson coach Harry Martin on Friday dusted off a sweet memory — a video of the Clippers' region final win two years ago in front of a raucous crowd at Milford Mill.
"I told them [the atmosphere] really wasn't a big deal," Martin said. "We just had to weather the storm."
Hours later, in front of an equally boisterous crowd at Randallstown, No. 8 Patterson weathered the storm, rallying from an early nine-point deficit to stop the No. 5 Rams, 73-63, in the Class 2A North region final.
Guard Kwynten Brooks led four players in double figures for the Clippers, who outscored the hosts 36-18 at the foul line, including 26-10 in the second half.
After falling behind, 17-8, to start the game, Patterson slowed the tempo, clamped down on defense and took control.
"I knew that we had to stay composed, and I knew it would be a game of runs," Brooks said. "We were missing layups, we were missing shots that we normally make. That's not going to happen the whole game, so I knew we were going to come back. We just had to stay humble, and we were going to get the win."
Patterson (21-4) advances to the Class 2A state semifinals at the University of Maryland, where it will face Potomac, a 100-63 winner over Oakland Mills in the South region final. It will be the Clippers' first trip to Comcast Center since winning a Class 3A title in 2012, and also their first without former two-time All-Metro Player of the Year Aquille Carr.
"They said we couldn't make it back without Aquille. They said we didn't have the team to make it back," Brooks said. "This stops all the haters."
Despite a game-high 32 points by Randallstown shooting guard Jerell Cooke, the Clippers took command by switching in the early minutes from a zone defense to a more aggressive man-to-man. Cooke was often doubled-teamed.
Led by Brooks (17 points), Dereck Oliver (16), Rysheed Corbin (14) and Dawan Bass (12), Patterson built a 54-40 lead early in the fourth quarter. Randallstown (22-4), however, mounted one last comeback attempt.
Down the stretch, the Rams time and again put the ball in the hands of Cooke, who entered the night averaging 22 points per game, and the 5-foot-10 senior responded. He scored 10 points in the final 6:23, including a pair of 3-pointers that helped trim a 14-point deficit to five with 1:30 left.
With 55 seconds remaining, Cooke put up a three from the top of the key that would've cut the lead to two, but the ball rimmed out.
"We knew he was the only one looking to score, so we focused in on him," Brooks said.
The Clippers then sealed it at the foul line, making 5 of 6 in the final 52 seconds.
"Our thing all season has been to remain even-keeled. We expect to win big games," Martin said. "They hit us in the mouth coming out, and next thing you know we made our run."
Class 2A, North Final
8Patterson 73, 5Randallstown 63
P — Oliver 16, Bass 12, Corbin 14, Brooks 17, Jones 2, Okigweh 4, Adams 4, Brown 2, Pointer 1. Totals: 17 36-50 73.
R — Robinson 3, Cooke 32, Banks 4, Smith 17, Atelefack 3, Granger 4. Totals: 19 18-36 63.
Half: Randallstown, 30-28.