FORT MYERS, Fla. –
A last-second basket marked a comeback victory to end the day’s action as No. 19 Paterson Catholic (Paterson, N.J.) knocked off No. 16 Penn Wood (Lansdowne, Pa.) in the first of many battles to come between teams ranked in MaxPreps’ Xcellent 25 at the City of Palms Classic.
Kyle Anderson scored on an open basket inside with six seconds left as Paterson Catholic advanced in the tournament, 61-60, after rallying from being down by double digits most of the second half.
“I’m a very proud coach right now,” Paterson Catholic head coach Damon Wright said. “For them to come back from being down 20-plus points – we asked them to fight in the third quarter and that’s exactly what they came out and did.”
It was a comeback that had been building after Penn Wood mounted a second-half lead behind the charge of junior wing Aaron Brown, who finished with 26 points and 13 rebounds in a difficult loss.
“We knew they were a good team and rated high, and we thought we were just as good as them after checking them out yesterday,” Wright said. “We showed a lot of character with two of our better players having subpar games in Myles Mack and Kyle Anderson.”
But it was Mack with the big steal late and Anderson with the game-winner. Derrick Randall and Fuquan Edwin led the comeback charge to set up those opportunities.
Edwin scored six points in the final two minutes and Randall had a big putback on an offensive rebound that led to Paterson Catholic gaining its first lead of the game on Anderson’s game-winner.
Randall finished with 10 points, seven blocks and six rebounds while Edwin led the team’s scoring with 24 points.
“Fuquan held us down at the end with the scoring and Derrick Randall was just huge with all the blocks,” senior captain Jayon James said. “They picked it up for me, Kyle and Myles. We had off games.”
Jermaine Peart also scored a key tip-in to end the third quarter that helped fuel Paterson Catholic’s eventual comeback commencing in the final quarter. Peart finished with 11 points.
“He had been in a slump and picked a great time to come out of it with some big plays for us today,” Wright said.
“We started off real slow, they got a big lead on us, but we have a lot of weapons and knew if we stuck together that we could pull it out,” James said.
Findlay Prep bounces back
In Friday’s headliner, No. 1 Findlay Prep (Henderson, Nev.) topped Winter Park (Fla.), 86-75, to bounce back from its loss to Northland (Columbus, Ohio) on Thursday night that snapped a 45-game win streak.
Winter Park’s Austin Rivers had the crowd on his side after his explosion at the event last year as a sophomore. He also had Findlay’s Cory Joseph on his tail, being face-guarded the length of the court as the two had a first-half battle that saw Rivers finish with 15 points and Joseph with 21 at the break.
After one quarter, Findlay found itself behind, 22-21, but a lasting funk from the Northland game wouldn’t stick.
At the 5:30 mark of the second quarter, Rivers’ tape flew off his injured fingers. Coincidence or not, he wouldn’t hit another three-pointer after the substitution he needed. Findlay took the lead into the half, 48-40.
With Nick Johnson and Tristan Thompson leading the charge in the third quarter, Winter Park’s last rally would come with 1:34 in the fourth quarter cutting the lead to 77-71.
Findlay would seal the win with a Thompson dunk ahead of the pack and a turnover by Rivers on Winter Park’s ensuing possession.
Joseph finished with 27 points, Thompson had 23 points and 10 rebounds and Johnson added 19 points, eight assists and five steals.
Rivers led four Winter Park scorers in double figures with 22 points. Robert Lovaglio scored 17 points, Isaac Turner had 15 points and Bret Comer added 13 points in the loss.
Action resumes Monday in Fort Myers with all of Friday and Saturday’s winners and losers back on the court, sans Paterson Catholic and Penn Wood who return to play Tuesday.
No. 7 Westchester (Los Angeles, Calif.) 61, Bartow (Fla.) 47
Four Westchester players scored in double figures led by Dwayne Polee’s 17 points. Jordin Mayes had 13 points, Kareem Jamar scored 12 points and Denzel Douglas added 11 as the Comets pulled away in the middle quarters sandwiched between single-digit first and fourth quarters.
No. 10 Milton (Alpharetta, Ga.) 79, Dunbar (Fort Myers, Fla.) 53
Junior Dai-Jon Parker (15 points) and sophomore Evan Nolte (13 points) combined for 28 first-half points as Milton forced 10 turnovers en route to a commanding 49-20 halftime lead and eventual landslide victory.
Montverde Academy (Orlando, Fla.) 82, Dudley (Greensboro, N.C.) 65
The long ball was dropping for Montverde while Dudley was lucky to get its luggage. A late arrival of uniforms and shoes added to Dudley’s tough start that involved travel delays due to snow. Sharpshooters Jamail Jones (32 points) and James Bell (13 points). P.J. Hairston and Reggie Dillard each scored 13 for Dudley.
Fort Myers (Fla.) 63, Butler (Huntsville, Ala.) 60
The early morning upset went the way of the hometowners as they fought off a late rally by Butler and Trevor Lacey (27 points). Fort Myers held Butler to just two points in the second quarter. Matt Yance led the winners with 16 points. James Joseph added 12 points and Terran McClendon added 11.