CLINTON – In the 1A regional state championship game, the Surrattsville Hornets came away with a 50-42 win over the Patterson Mill Huskies in a highly physical game that had initially looked to be a blowout. Surrattsville dominated the ball from the very beginning of the game, as its first shot was a clean swish […]
CLINTON – In the 1A regional state championship game, the Surrattsville Hornets came away with a 50-42 win over the Patterson Mill Huskies in a highly physical game that had initially looked to be a blowout.
Surrattsville dominated the ball from the very beginning of the game, as its first shot was a clean swish from just outside the three-point line. However, it became clear that the Hornets would have to get familiarly acquainted with outside shots because Patterson Mill was intent on clogging the paint.
“They took the middle away,” Surrattsville Head Coach Demario Newman said. “They took the help-side away, as we like to call it.”
However, once Surrattsville got the ball inside, it was nearly unstoppable and seldom did a breakaway fail to result in two points.
On the flip side, it was not that Patterson Mill lacked the ability to move the ball. In fact the Huskies performed well against the Hornets’ high pressure defense, but the tireless aggression of Surrattsville’s defense led to an abundance of steals which ultimately became points.
Surrattsville’s defense was in no way timid, with eight fouls in the first half and 15 in the second. Newman said his plan from the beginning was to play very aggressively, mostly to stop Patterson’s Tyler Jakubowski, who he “knew was their best ball handler.”
“We knew if we could stop him then it would put us in a position to win the game,” Newman said.
Patterson Mill Head Coach Jeroud Clark said the issue was his team “got a little stagnant in the first half, which allowed (Surrattsville) to get a little more confident and play a little bit freer.”
The Huskies went back to the locker room on a familiar yet sour note, as the first half ended just the way it started: a Surrattsville swish from three, leaving the score 29-12.
The start of the second half did not seem too different than the first, except for the budding of a Patterson Mill offensive push. However, there seemed to be no stopping the Surrattsville attack. “In the second half they started to make a little run, but we stood firm. We didn’t let up,” said the Hornets’ Tyrone Wolridge, who scored six points in the game
The reason for Patterson Mill’s run, according to teammate Drew Martin, was overconfidence in the Surrattsville locker room.
“We all thought we were going to blow them out,” Martin said. “We came out of the locker room and started slacking. They started making shots and we started missing shots.”
Not to mention there was a definite improvement in the Huskies’ performance. Patterson Mill began to find more penetration in their attack, and “began to put their defense up more,” as Martin put it.
“Whatever halftime speech they got worked,” Wolridge said.
A problem arose for the Hornets, as they put themselves in foul trouble early by earning 10 fouls in the third quarter alone.
“I thought it didn’t make a difference early,” Newman said. “But as the game kept going I had one of my starters foul out, and there were two or three more that had four fouls.”
Despite the touble, Newman’s approach never wavered.
“This is the (regional) championship game,” he said. “You know, take a chance.”
As a result of its foul trouble, the Surrattsville lead gradually began to degrade from cushiony to tense. Patterson Mill scored 16 points off free throws in the second half, though it might have secured a victory with more success from the foul line, as the Huskies had 31 attempts in the last 16 minutes.
“All year long we’ve been fighting. We’ve been a battling type of team,” Clark said. “That’s what we expected in the second half, to go out there and battle and fight. And we did that. We just came up short.”
Surrattsville will play the Lake Clifton Eastern High School Lakers in the state semifinals on Friday, March 11.