FORT MYERS, Fla. -- For 7.5 hours, Leah Patterson parked herself in the stands at the City of Palms Classic boys basketball tournament, waiting for Montverde’s (Montverde, Fla.) quarterfinal matchup against Lincoln (Brooklyn, N.Y.).
Patterson’s son Jalyn is the No. 2 Eagles’ starting point guard.
When the game finally tipped off, she cheered for three quarters. Before Montverde inbounded the ball to start the fourth, Leah made a beeline for her car.
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“When it’s a close game like that I just can’t watch,” Leah said. “Everyone knows that about me. It’s just too much for my nerves. I can’t.”
After enough time had passed, Leah made her way back to the gym only to find out the Eagles were in an overtime dogfight with No. 30 Lincoln.
“I left again,” Leah said. “I couldn’t watch. After a while I came back and I saw Coach (Kevin) Boyle’s wife and asked her if we had won and she said yes. I was like ‘OK, all is well again.'”
The Eagles pulled out the 74-70 win.
When asked how he felt about his mother’s abrupt exit late in the game, Jalyn smiled and said, “It’s just what she does. I used to try and get her to stay, but she just can’t take it. That’s just her process I guess. I’ve accepted it.”
Whitehead’s cheering section second to none
Good luck finding a louder, more passionate cheering section than the one for Lincoln guard Isaiah Whitehead. The crew of around 20, who sat just behind the Lincoln bench in Friday night’s overtime loss to Montverde (Montverde, Fla.), seemingly managed to drown out the loud capacity crowd with a three-word go-to phrase: “Get ‘em Zae!”
Whitehead, a Seton Hall commit, didn’t disappoint scoring 23 points and dishing out seven assists in the loss. Whitehead is averaging 29.5 points and seven assists a game at the City of Palms Classic.
“Get ‘em Zae” indeed!
Panthers play in the deep pool
Paul VI (Fairfax, Va.), the No. 11 team in the Super 25 rankings, has four players ranked among the top 100 recruits in their class. The Panthers used that depth to wear down No. 14 Wheeler (Marietta, Ga.) 62-46 in a quarterfinal game Friday.
“A big part of our season has been our depth,” Paul VI coach Glenn Farello said. “I thought our kids came out and sustained a lot of defensive energy in the second half.”
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Marcus Derrickson, who has committed to Georgetown, had 17 points. He’s usually the team’s top scorer, but junior wing Josh Reaves stepped up when Derrickson went cold at times and led the Panthers with 22 points, including a spectacular alley-oop dunk off a pass by Tyler Scanlon that pushed the team’s lead to 56-39 early in the second half.
“He gets up there, with a 40-inch vertical and a long wingspan,” Farello said. “He’s fun to watch. … With our style of basketball, we want everyone attacking. We’re not a one-man show. Yes, Marcus is the No. 1, but the other guys can play too. They’re willing to move and I though our ball movement was great in the second half. Josh Reaves played a really heady game. The way he and Evan Taylor defended on the perimeter was fantastic. … Josh is so long and athletic, he gets a lot of deflections.”
Eagles flying by a narrow margin
Montverde finished last season as the No. 1 team in the Super 25 rankings. Though Montverde is No. 2 and likely to be the No. 1 team in the Super 25 at the next rankings, Eagles coach Kevin Boyle seemed relieved to have survived a close game against Lincoln.
“I told our guys, you’re not going to beat everyone by 30,” Boyle said. “You beat a good team. We won a quarterfinal last year here in overtime too and picked it up in a semifinal and final. Winning a game like this feels a lot better than losing, that’s for sure. The reason why these tournaments are so tough for us, we have such a hard schedule throughout the year. Last year in the final (Super 25), we played No. 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 9. … A game like this is good for our guys to show them they’re not 30 points better than everybody, that they can be beat.”