Seniors Dereck Oliver, Gary Blackston and Demetrich Williams have been the steady scoring sources for No. 4 Patterson this season, and were vital again in Friday's Class 2A state semifinal against Wicomico. But sophomores Koran Moore and Richard Hibbert also did more than their share.
Playing at a tempo the Indians simply couldn't match at Xfinity Center, Patterson (22-5) won comfortably, 87-56, to advance to today's state final. It will meet No. 6 Oakland Mills, a 66-61 winner over Oakdale in Friday’s other semifinal, at 6 p.m. Saturday for the championship here.
"It’s been a long season and we put a lot of work in to get to this point, so this is the big game for us," Patterson coach Harry Martin said. "Oakland Mills is very talented, athletic and well coached, but we’ll be ready for them.”
Blackston led five Clippers in double figures with 21 points. Oliver (17 points), Williams (14), Moore (14 and Hibbert (11) took turns impressing as Patterson reached the championship game for the third time in five years. They will seek their second state crown, with the first coming in 2012.
Patterson defeated Wicomico in the regular season, coming away with a 60-52 win at the Governor's Challenge in Salisbury on Dec. 27.
This time, the Indians (22-4) stayed competitive for only the first half. The Clippers took their first doule-digit lead midway through the third quarter on a 3-pointer from Tyquan Pointer, then scored 34 points in a dominating fourth quarter.
Patterson started slowly, but it steadily settled in before taking over with a dominating second half.
After Blackston hit a 3-pointer for a 3-0 lead, Wicomico went on an 11-1 run. It was the seniors who brought the Clippers back.
The three accounted for 24 straight points, with Williams hitting a baseline jumper for a 24-22 lead with 3:41 to play in the first half. Offense came from others soon. Moore made two field goals, and Hibbert hit a 3-pointer later in the second quarter as Patterson went on to take a 34-27 halftime advantage.
“We came out jittery, and it took us a while to get into our flow," Martin said. "We just took too many 3-pointers early, so we made a concerted effort to attack the basket, and it was more about that than anything else.”