Patterson guard Aquille Carr, right, drives to the basket against… (Amy Davis / Baltimore Sun…)
No longer burdened by the foul trouble that limited his play in the first half, Patterson sophomore point guard Aquille Carr did in the second half what he's done all season for the No. 1 Clippers — take over a basketball game.
That the competition was for the Baltimore City Division I championship, that the opponent was two-time defending Class 2A state champion City, and that the venue was bigger than usual — a packed house at Morgan State — didn't matter to the 5-foot-6 Carr, an All-Metro selection.
After scoring just seven points in a cautious first half — leaning on strong play from teammates to keep the score tied at the half — Carr exploded for 25 second-half points, finishing with 32 in another dazzling performance that led Patterson to a 75-59 win over the No. 5 Knights for the program's first Baltimore City League Division I championship. It was the first championship of any kind for the Clippers since 1976, when they captured the Maryland Scholastic Association crown.
Patterson improved to 21-1 this season — going 10-0 in city play — as it next takes aim at the Class 4A North region title starting Monday. For now, Carr and the Clippers are savoring the history they made at Morgan State.
"Ths means a whole lot — we haven't won one since 1976," said Carr, who got his second foul three minutes into play. "Coach [Harry Martin] told me the second half was my show. I got in some foul trouble early, but he said the second half, it's in my hands."
Patterson sophomore forward Myrek Lee-Fowlkes scored 11 of his 18 points in the first half to help offset City senior guard Nick Faust (25 points) as the game went to halftime tied at 33.
From there, it was all Carr. He opened the third quarter with a steal and layup, followed with a long 3-pointer and didn't let up as the Clippers built a 54-44 lead going into the fourth quarter. Fittingly, Carr, who also had four assists and eight steals, was holding onto the ball at midcourt as the final seconds counted down.
City coach Mike Daniel was asked: What changed in the second half?
"Aquille Carr asserted himself — that's it. He did what he usually does the whole game — you can't stop the kid. … He's a special player," said Daniel, whose Knights fell to 14-8 on the season.
Patterson senior guard Rickey Meekins scored 13 points, including two 3-pointers in the first half. City got 13 points from senior guard Mike Cheatham. The Knights played without junior forward Charles Tapper, who Daniel said was not on the team Thursday.
Northwestern 56, Forest Park 53: After suffering a 20-point loss to Forest Park on Feb. 1, the Wildcats stayed close throughout and showed more poise in the key final minutes to pull off the upset.
Junior guard Maynard Brown (18 points) drove to the basket to give Northwestern a 54-53 lead with 1:31 to play and then, at the buzzer, iced the game with a layup after taking a full-court outlet pass from senior guard Tyrell Wilson. Senior forward Jaylin Sharp also scored 18 points for the winners, while Forest Park got a 21-point performance from Quinton Judd.