COLLEGE PARK -- Coming into the season, most tagged the Patterson boys basketball team as the team to beat in Class 2A.
On paper, it certainly appeared that way with senior standout Marvin Price returning to the school, transfer Jalen Willis added to bring special energy and a returning cast that was talented and still smarting from a down season the year before.
But there was still a season to play, a Baltimore City championship to contend for and win, and then the North region before any thoughts of making another trip to the Xfinity Center.
After scoring 31 points to lead the No. 1 Clippers to a 79-56 win over Wicomico on Saturday, Price described the feeling as a relief.
Patterson (25-3) swept the Baltimore City and state title for the second time in the three years. After Price scored 17 of his points in the second quarter to give the Clippers a lead, fellow senior TJ Thomas played big in making sure it was maintained with all 14 of his points coming in the second half.
Price, who led the Clippers to the state title in 2017 before transferring to West Virginia-based Huntington Prep last season, provided Patterson with a lead in the first half and fellow senior Thomas made sure the No. 1 Clippers kept it. Willis finished with 12 points and 12 rebounds and senior guard Gerard Mungo added 12 points and seven assists as the Clippers closed out the season with a quality team win.
“This was similar to the 2012 title in terms of expectations early on,” said Patterson coach Harry Martin. “There was a lot of expectations at the start of the season saying ‘Hey, you’re the clear front runner in 2A’ so go finish the season as the winner of the 2A.”
The Indians (24-4) took a 16-15 lead on their first possession in the second quarter, but Price took over the rest of the first half. He hit his first four shots of the quarter – including three 3-pointers – and finished with 17 as the Clippers took a 38-26 halftime lead.
What worked for Price in his stay-over stretch? “Just to keep playing, don’t overthink stuff or force anything,” he said.
With Price and Zack Blackwell (eight points) picking up their fourth fouls in the third quarter and the Indians cutting the lead to 44-35, Thomas scored 12 third-quarter points – his three-point play with 16 seconds left providing a 56-41 lead that would never be threatened.
“I wasn’t really doing that much in the first half and I was getting down on myself and Jalen picked me up and told me to keep playing. So I just kept shooting and my shots started dropping in the second half,” he said.
With Lake Clifton capturing the Class 1A and Poly winning its third straight 3A championship earlier on Saturday, the Clippers win gave Baltimore City three of the four state crowns for the second straight year.
In addition to beating Lake Clifton and Poly in the regular season, Patterson also beat ranked Edmondson three times – including for the Baltimore City and North champions – and didn’t lose to an area team the entire season.
P – Price 31, Mungo 12, Willis 14, Blackwell 8, Thomas 14, Jones 2. Totals: 28 15-21 79