- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
The boys basketball program at Patuxent had waited 11 years to win another playoff game, so waiting for the visiting Lackey Chargers to arrive, who were running late for its Class 2A South Region first-round contest, was no big deal.
The last successful run in the playoffs was during the 2001-02 season when the Panthers beat Calvert and Thomas Stone in the 3A South Region playoffs, They suffered a loss to Chopticon in the region final, so it had been since the win over Stone on Feb. 28, 2002 since Patuxent had won a playoff game.
That was until Tuesday night when the seventh-seeded Panthers defeated Lackey, the No. 10 seed, 68-55.
Patuxent (5-18 overall) played second-seeded Calvert on Thursday night, a quarterfinal contest that ended too late for inclusion into this edition. The winner will host 13th-seeded Largo of Prince George’s County or 12th-seed Marriotts Ridge of Howard County in the semifinals on Tuesday.
Patuxent head coach Nick Wilson said he and his team talked at the beginning of the season and came to a consensus that the season wasn’t just going to be about wins and losses.
“This last week of practice has been great,” Wilson said. “I was able to bring some guys up [from JV]. With having Trey [Lee] back, it also made a us more versatile. They just believed all year and that’s what we asked of them at the start. We didn’t come in and say we were going to win 20 games. We focus on the four Es — energy, effort, enthusiasm, and execution — and they did that tonight. They were clicking on all cylinders.”
The Panthers were warmed up and ready to go, however, the Chargers (6-16) had to exit the bus and get in a quick warmup and hit the floor.
Patuxent came out quick, outscoring the visitors 14-9 in the first quarter and again 16-11 in the second, taking a 10-point lead into the half. Patuxent put up just three more points over Lackey in the second half as the Chargers made a move to come back, but turnovers hurt them down the stretch.
The unselfish Lee, a senior guard, finished with 12 points and had numerous assists. Junior guards Jahi Norman and Joey Parsons each finished with 15 points to lead the Panthers.
Norman said if there’s one thing he’s taking away from the game, it’s the fact that they are believers.
“Coming into playoffs, we had a lot of doubters,” Norman said. “A lot of people asked how could we get this done, we’ve only won four games, but all of us as brothers, including our coach can prove that we can. We went out there and controlled the tempo of the game. We can beat Calvert, we can beat any team right now.”
Lackey head coach Pierre Bland said he was right there in the game with his team emotionally and said they basically got out-hustled. Bland added that the Chargers simply did not run the offense that they had been working on.
“All week we worked on it and we didn’t run it tonight,” Bland said. “We just didn’t execute. When we wanted to play, we played. We came within six points, but we just couldn’t get it to fall. They missed some defensive assignments and that gave up eight or nine points and every little bit helps.”
Lackey’s leading scorer was junior David Pittman with 15 points, a player Bland is glad to have available for next season.
Bland said a summer season is in the works for his squad and he’s hoping that they understand what it takes to be committed to a program and to see it build, not just during the high school season, but year-round.