Of the games on a mega-difficult 2011-12 schedule, Patterson High boys’ basketball team had Saturday night’s matchup with St. Frances Academy circled. A few months back, the Panthers dissected the Clippers in a fall league contest in east Baltimore.
No. 2 Patterson got a measure of revenge, taking a 79-72 decision over the third-ranked Panthers in the final game of the 16th annual Basketball Academy at a sold out Lake Clifton. Junior guard Aquille Carr scored a game-high 23 points, and Devin Hebron added 17.
The reigning Baltimore City Division I champ Clippers (11-5 overall) led by as many as 12 points in the second half before fending off a fourth quarter charge by the perennial east Baltimore private school powerhouse. This past October at the St. Frances fall league, the Panthers (14-7) won, 60-32, in an emotionally-charged match.
“I talked to them after that game and told them it would be a different story come January,” said Patterson coach Harry Martin. “St. Frances seemed to be very excited about that score. We reminded of that before the game.”
“We kept thinking about the game and couldn’t wait to get another shot,” said Carr, who was ejected from the fall league match.
Saturday, Carr was the game’s MVP, adding three assists and a steal with his game-high 23 points. The Clippers had all five starters in double-figures as Shakir Brown and Nyme Manns each had a double-double with 15 points and 13 rebounds and 15 and 11, respectively.
For Brown, a versatile 6-foot-6 guard/forward, Saturday’s win was significant. He played at St. Frances his first three years before transferring to Patterson during the offseason.
“I’m here to get all the rebounds and score a couple of baskets to help us win,” said Brown, who’s receiving interest from several Division I schools. “I know I have to stay out of foul trouble to be effective.”
“He’s a great kid,” said St. Frances coach Nick Myles of Brown. “He played his butt off tonight.”
Brown helped keep St. Frances at bay after it cut an 11-point fourth quarter deficit to one-point. After Dayshawn Wells hit a three-pointer, bringing the Panthers to 67-66 with 3 minutes, 16 seconds left, Brown answered with a score inside.
Brown (four steals) responded again with a basket, making 71-68, with 2:19 to play, then Maurice White brought St. Frances to 71-70 with a score. The Chase Street school had a chance to tie or take the lead after Hebron’s converted one of two from the foul line, but missed a jumper leading to a Carr basket.
It was 74-72 after another White score, but Hebron followed with two free throws for Patterson. Brown got the defensive board off a miss three-pointer by Wells, and Carr found Fowkles down the court for a score, pushing the Clippers’ advantage to 78-72 with 12 seconds left.
“I’m still kind of looking for that killer instinct from this team,” said Martin. “On the flip side, we’re starting to get better balance in our scoring.”
In a matchup of the top two teams in the area’s preseason polls, Patterson raced to an early 18-7 advantage after a three-pointer from Brown. St. Frances captured the lead at 32-20 after a jumper by Kurk Lee Jr., but three-pointers by Fowkles (11 points) and Hebron regained the lead for good for the Clippers.
Patterson appeared to be control at 61-50 after Manns scored after grabbing a loose ball, but St. Frances, behind inside scoring from Forney and Wells’ outside shooting, climbed to within a possession. Myles was pleased with his team’s fortitude in a highly-charged match.
“Their [Patterson] kids played well,” said Myles, whose team went 5 of 16 from the free throw line. “We want to play one of the toughest schedules in the area. Patterson did a good job, but now, we have to get ready for McDonogh on Tuesday.”
“Everybody wanted to see the top two teams in Baltimore compete against other,” said St. Frances senior guard Daquan Cook, who led his team with 20 points. “Patterson is really good and everything goes through Aquille, but they’re a really good team.”