The Patterson boys basketball didn’t take its first lead until the opening possession of overtime Tuesday, overcoming a 14-point fourth-quarter deficit against a No. 3 Poly team that looked superior for most of the game.
But the No. 4 Clippers still had work left in the extra time and senior guard Gerard Mungo was on the mark when it counted most.
Out of a timeout with 8 seconds left and the game tied, the Clippers swiftly swung the ball to Mungo behind the 3-point line on the right side of the court. He didn’t hesitate, finding all net.
After Poly senior guard Rahim Ali was fouled attempting a 3-pointer with 2 seconds left and missed two of the three free-throw attempts, Patterson earned an improbable 67-64 overtime win over the Engineers in its packed East Baltimore gym.
Patterson improved to 11-2 and 6-0 in Baltimore City’s B Division, while Poly fell to 8-4 and 4-2 in league play. The game had the intensity and drama suited for a Baltimore City championship game, and the Clippers took a huge step to get there with the win.
Mungo, who finished with 18 points to share game-high honors with teammate Marvin Price, put a premuim on the win. As a sophomore, he played a big role in helping Patterson to a state championship. As for Tuesday’s win, he said: “I think this feels better than a state championship.”
It wasn’t looking that way for three quarters.
The visiting Engineers, bigger and more physical, leaned on dominant inside play, and their length made it hard for the Clippers to score. When senior Amani Walker hit two free throws with 4:46 left in the third quarter, the visitors had built their biggest lead at 41-26. The lead was 14 in the opening seconds of the fourth quarter when the Clippers found their form with scrappy defense leading to offense.
Patterson senior guard Zach Blackwell sparked a 12-0 run that cut the lead to 50-48 with 4:44 left in regulation. He had a steal and layup, a tough putback and closed the string with a jumper after Mungo hit a 3-pointer.
The Engineers regrouped, scoring the next seven points, including a thunderous dunk from newcomer Brandon Murray to seemingly retake control with 2:26 left. But the Clippers continued to scrap, with Price converting a three-point play and then two more free throws before Blackwell hit two free throws with 11 seconds to play to force overtime with the game tied at 57.
Both team’s star players fouled out in the fourth quarter, with Poly forward Justin Lewis scoring 14 points and Price finishing with 18.
After Patterson took its first lead when Leroy Noble scored his only two points with a layup off a wraparound feed from Jalen Willis on the Clippers’ first overtime possession, the game was tied three more times before Mungo took a swift pass from Noble and hit the deciding 3-pointer.
“I just had confidence — I knew it was going to go in,” Mungo said. “From practice on out, we just wanted this game so bad. I’m just so happy, I can’t even talk right now.”
Said Patterson coach Harry Martin: “It was a real resilient effort tonight. Poly is a great team. … We kept battling and battling. It wasn’t pretty, but I told our guys keep fighting — I felt like we would wear them down and we ended up doing it.”
Ali scored a team-high 16 points, hitting four straight free throws in overtime before stepping to the line the final time.
Poly — Ali 16, Lewis 14, Walker 6, Wallace 5, Lindsay 6, Murray 15, Lamothe 2. Totals: 22 13-26 64
Patterson — Price 18, Willis 7, Blackwell 14, T. Thomas 8, Mungo 18, Noble 2. Totals: 22 18-26 67
Half: Poly, 31-23