The No. 2 Patterson boys basketball team has a way of steadily wearing an opponent down.
Harford Tech was the latest opponent to find out in the second half of Friday night's Class 2A state semifinal game.
The Clippers enjoyed a late run in the third quarter and then took hold in the fourth to close out a 68-49 win over Harford Tech.
Sophomore guard Marvin Price finished with 24 points and 12 rebounds, and senior forward Christion Adams and sophomore guard Gerard Mungo added 13 points apiece. The Clippers (25-3) reached their fourth final in a bid to win the program's second state title.
Patterson will meet Century on Saturday with the tip set for 6 p.m. at Xfinity Center.
Leading 40-37 midway through the third quarter, the Clippers went on a 7-2 run at the end of the third quarter and then dominated the fourth to give 11th-year coach Harry Martin his 200th career win.
While the Clippers shot 45 percent from the field in the take-charge fourth quarter, the Cobras, who got a 26-point performance from senior Darius Dangerfield, only hit two of their 15 shots.
"In the first half, they were like with us, but we just pulled away in the second half playing hard," Price said. "[We were] more physical and getting up and down."
A 3 pointer from Isaiah Clemons with 2:49 left in the third quarter started the Clippers on their way, giving them a 43-37 lead that would grow to 47-39 going into the fourth quarter.
Harrison Brandon, who provided a spark off the Patterson bench with eight points, converted a three-point play to open the fourth quarter to start the Clippers' run.
With only one senior starter back in Adams and a young group that included transfers Price and Mungo, Martin wasn't sure what to expect at the start of the season. But after an early loss to St. Frances, the Clippers hit their stride and haven't stopped. After winning the Baltimore City championship against No. 4 and Class 3A finalist Poly, they dominated the North region and are now a win away from winning the program's first state crown since 2012.
"As the season went on, my confidence grew and the consistency was there where I could trust that we're going to get max effort," Martin said. "I think if we play with energy, we'll give ourselves a chance and then it really comes down to who makes the shots at the end.
Harford Tech was making its first state tournament appearance and went into the game as a decided underdog. If the Cobras were nervous at the start, it didn't look like it.
Behind Dangerfield, who leaves the program as Harford County's all-time leading scorer among public schools with 1,800 points, the Cobras were able to lead by as many as six late in the first quarter and for much of the start of the second before Patterson made a push.
Trailing 24-23, the Clippers got a 3-pointer from Brandon with 3:01 to play in the second quarter and closed the half on an 11-4 run that gave them a 34-29 halftime lead. Adams helped spark the second-quarter rally, converting a three-point play early, adding an inside basket and then the team's final two points on free throws with 15 seconds left.
"We just got tired at the end," Harford Tech coach Bill Jones said. "About the middle of the third quarter, we got tired. But we competed against one of the best teams in the state. We came here with an objective to win and I thought we battled really hard in the first half. And then in the third quarter, we got into a little foul trouble and got a little tired. But I'm proud."
After reaching the regional final the previous two seasons, the Cobras took the next step with Friday's trip to Xfinity Center. Dangerfield was proud to be a part of it.
"Getting here was definitely a big part of history and it was definitely great to be a part of," he said. "We just feel a little short tonight. I thought we could have played a little better and made a couple more shots at the end, but it was just a great journey."
Class 2A semifinal
P -- Price 24, Mungo 13, Jones 3, Adams13 , Clemons 7, Brandon 8. Totals: 22 21-28 68
HT – Dangerfield 26, Webb 10, J. Lucas 8, D. Lucas 5. Totals: 15 14-21 49