There was one thing that was very obvious in Saturday afternoon's clash between rivals Patterson and Milford Mill with a 3A North Championship and a birth to the Comcast Center on the line.
The referees were in control. And they were going to keep this game orderly, and they were going to call fouls, and fouls, and more fouls, until either both teams stopped playing defense, or everybody fouled out. When it was all said and done 53 personal fouls were called in the 32 minute game. 28 were assessed to Patterson and 25 assessed to Milford Mill. 5 players were disqualified including all three of Patterson's bigs; 6'10'' Leonard Livingston, 6'6'' Shakir Brown, and 6'4'' Nyme Manns. Luckily for Patterson when the last of their three bigs fouled out there was less then two minutes to go, Patterson had a two possession lead, and Milford Mill was in scramble-foul mode. Also luckily for Patterson was the fact that Milford Mill's 6'7'' do everything player Isaiah Miles, a St Joe's commit, had also fouled out.
Even though the two teams combined to score 147 points in this game there was no pace. What seemed liked every possession, a foul was called. The two coaches were making substitutions at an alarming rate. The good news for those who support the Kane Street bunch is that Aquille Carr was not plagued with foul trouble. Carr was able to play aggressive, both on offense and defense. And he had himself one hell of a ball game. It was clear from the jump that Milford was going to double Carr and force the ball out of his hands. Early they were somewhat successful with this. As the game progressed,Carr did what Carr does; Took Over.
With just a couple minutes remaining in the third quarter Milford Mill had made a serious run. They held a 9 point lead and their crowd was roaring. It did not look good for the Clippers. After a time-out the Clippers regrouped and hit three unanswered triples. One possession into the fourth quarter it was all of a sudden tied. The ensuing possession after Patterson tied it will be a possession that everyone in that building will be talking about for a long time. As the clock struck 7:45 in the fourth quarter Carr darted at the basketball. He had timed Milford Mill senior captain Chase Cormier's dribbles perfectly. As the 5'6'' guard stripped the ball from Cormier it appeared Carr would have an uncontested break-away for a bucket, but Baltimore County Player of the year, 6'3'' Katrell Myers put on the jets and caught up to Carr a step away from the rim. Some were expecting Carr to do one of his hang-in-the-air, body contorted, draw-the-foul, acrobatic moves, but the Crime-stopper had other intentions. Carr rose up, absorbed the contact, and BOOOM! He threw it down on the man who had him by 9 inches. Not only did he throw it down but he drew a foul. And he converted the free throw. And Patterson who was down nine points two minutes prior, was now up by three.
The gym went bananas. This wasn't the first time Carr pulled off the feat. There was the dunk his freshman year on Nick Faust when Carr was just a freshman that people still talk about to this day. There is no footage of that dunk. Boy is there footage of this dunk. There must have been 50 camera's in the building, and boy did they (we) luck out. After Carr's 3-point play Patterson looked entranced. They were so fired up, and had the look of a team who was going to do anything they had to do to walk out of Milford Mill, the reigning two time Maryland 3A State champion's gym with a W.
But the Millers would answer. The game would go back and forth over the next 5 minutes while players began earning early exits. First 6'10'' Clipper, Leonard Livingston fouled out. A couple minutes later Shakir Brown was disqualified. With about two minutes to go Nyme Manns picked up his fifth foul. In between those three fouling out Milford Mill's Isaiah Miles would pick up his fifth foul, a devastating blow to the Millers.
Down the stretch the Clippers felt very safe putting the ball in freshman Dereck Oliver's hands. On multiple possessions in the last two minutes Carr didn't even get a touch and Oliver would weave around, running off time, until he was fouled. Oliver would go 3-4 from the line in the final minute to preserve the win. Carr would go 3-5 from the stripe in the fourth. As a team Patterson hit 8 of their 14 fourth quarter free throw's. Milford Mill would get a 3-point attempt to tie the game but Davonte Thomas' shot hit back iron and Patterson forward Myrek Lee-Fowlkes who was forced to play the big man role at that point would secure the rebound. Lee-Fowlkes did miss both free throws with just over a second left on the clock leaving one last heave for the Millers. But it wasn't to be and the Clippers walked away champions of the 3A North. The crime-stopper finished with a game high 31 points to go along with his nine assists, three rebounds and two steals. Myrek Lee-Fowlkes finished with 16 and 5. Shakir Brown finished with 10 points, eight rebounds, and five steals. Devin Hebron had eight points and a huge offensive rebound in the closing seconds to preserve the win. Leonard Livingston controlled the paint before fouling out. He had five rebounds, three steals, and two blocks. Many other Clippers stepped up and were forced into crucial minutes because of the foul trouble.
With the victory Patterson advances to the 3A State semi-finals on Thursday at 5pm versus Tuscarora. If they win that they will face the winner of Centennial and Thomas Stone. Thomas Stone has one loss this year, to defending 4A state champs North Point. The same North Point team who defeated this very Patterson club in last year's 4A state championship.