Up against a scrappy Havre de Grace team on Tuesday night, Patterson Mill finished what they started.
The visiting Warriors came back to take their first lead since early in the first quarter with just over three minutes left in regulation, but the Huskies immediately answered with a decisive 10-0 run that ultimately proved to be the difference in a 67-62 win.
After finishing with a losing record last season, Patterson Mill improved to 6-0 this winter with the victory.
“As a coach, you look at these guys and you watch as they have matured from ninth graders to seniors and you could see it out there tonight, that there was a sense of ‘been there done that.’ Falling behind, it didn’t rattle them. If anything, it made them angry,” Patterson Mill head coach Jeroud Clark said. “In previous years, there might have been players looking over wondering, ‘Hey what do we do.’ Tonight they knew exactly what they had to do.
“It a lot of ways it was a similar game to last year against them. But this time, instead of decomposing and falling short, we responded.”
Senior guards Max Elliott (18 points) and Nick Cress (13 points) paced the Huskies on offense in the win. Elliott said seeing the team pull together when the game got tight is a testament to how far this group has come since this time last year.
“I think the big difference is we have a lot of returning guys this year, we only lost two guys. So we just have a lot of chemistry, a lot of seniors,”Elliott said. “I think that senior leadership really helps us stay strong in those last two minutes when everything gets really fast.”
On the other side, Havre de Grace (1-2) fell just short despite 13 points apiece from Ishawn Bryant and Jayden Hyman. In the end, 13 missed foul shots — seven coming in the fourth quarter — proved costly for the Warriors.
“You know, we haven’t played very much basketball, this is only our third game because of a couple games getting moved around. And we knew Patterson is a good team, well coached and our goal was to get better tonight,” Havre de Grace head coach Brian Eberhardt said. “While we fell short, I thought the guys overall really stepped up tonight. We matched their intensity, we got after loose balls and we were right there. Free throws, unfortunately, ended up being the difference. We missed 13 and lost by five.”
Elliott was the story early on for Patterson Mill, scoring 15 of his team’s first 29 points en route to a 29-20 lead midway through the second quarter. The senior guard scored in a variety of ways, converting a mix of mid-range jump shots and lay-ups to go along with a timely 3-pointer.
But, as was the theme all evening, the Warriors hung around. A 7-0 spurt to end of the first half helped trim the Havre de Grace deficit to four points, 33-29, at the half.
Later, after Patterson Mill had opened up another nine-point lead in the third quarter, Havre de Grace strung together another 7-0 run to get within two points.
“We took advantage of spreading the floor,” Eberhardt said. “Once we spread the floor, we had a little more opportunities to score both inside and on the perimeter.”
Patterson Mill still managed to maintain a lead, however, until back-to-back 3-pointers by Matt Mussman (11 points) and Hyman made it 55-54 in favor of the Warriors with 3:23 left in regulation.
After a timeout, Patterson Mill simply got back to work.
“Basketball is a game of runs and we know that. We are a team that can score in bunches and we are also a team that can go in droughts occasionally,” “So we have prepared for those situations a lot in practice … having that mentality of they’ve made their run, let’s go and make ours now. And that’s exactly what we did.”
A pair of foul shots by Rashawd Clowney gave the Huskies back the lead and started what ended up being a 10-0 run. Cress scored six of those 10 points.
Havre de Grace kept fighting, pulling back to within three in the final minute. But, ultimately, there wasn’t enough time to complete another comeback.
Patterson Mill 67, Havre de Grace 62
PM (6-0): Elliott 18, Cress 13, Rashawn Clowney 9, Felder 8, Rashawd Clowney 8, Madsen 5, Harris 5, Rosling 3.
HdG (1-2): Bryant 13, Hyman 13, Mussman 11, Butler 8, White 8, Gibson 5, Cameron 1.
Half: 33-29 PM.
Reach Brent Kennedy at email@example.com or follow him on twitter @BKBSunSports