BALTIMORE – De’Vondre Perry corralled a loose ball and didn’t hesitate what to do next. All he saw was the rim. Nothing else.
Baltimore Poly needed a spark, clinging to a two-point lead not even sixty seconds into a four-minute long overtime.
The 6-foot-6 senior forward put the ball on the deck instantly, and like a well-oiled locomotive, chugged coast-to-coast and arrived to his destination with a resounding load. Perry knifed through the lane, cocked the ball behind his head and brought down the house with a ferocious two-handed slam atop a pair of Patterson defenders.
“I didn’t see anything but the rim,” Perry said of the dunk, who made the ensuing free throw to push Poly’s lead to five. “I knew it was my time to score. I had to go ‘Bron-‘Bron mode. … LeBron [James] mode.”
Perry scored eight of Poly’s 14 overtime points, lifting the No. 5 Engineers in testy moments to down intra-city rival No. 10 Patterson at home, 54-51.
For the game, Perry gave life to a Poly team shooting a sub 30 percent from the floor. The Temple commit turned in a LeBron James-like performance, stuffing the box score with 21 points, 19 rebounds, five assists and five blocks.
“That’s our leader right there,” junior Demetrius Mims (12 points) said of Perry.
Poly went the final 7:36 of the fourth quarter with only two points. In fact, the Engineers went the entire fourth period with only two buckets – both by Perry. The Temple commit opened the final quarter with a 3-point play that gave Poly (12-6) its largest lead of the night at 38-30. With three minutes left in regulation, Perry finished a contact layup to knot the game at 40-apiece.
On Poly’s first possession of overtime, Perry made two free throws to break a 40-40 tie before throwing down the momentum-shifting slam to push Poly’s leas to 45-40. Forty seconds later, he made two more free throws to extend the lead to 47-41.
“I don’t think the (Cavaliers) need to tell LeBron to go get it. I don’t think a coach needs to tell a big-time player to finish the game. It just happens,” Brand said of Perry. “The best player on the floor needs to assert himself when it’s time. And that’s what he did.”
Sophomore wing Byron Easter drilled a 3 to bring Patterson within striking distance, 52-49, with 1:06 to go, but that’s the closest the Clippers got down the stretch of a foul-marred overtime. Patterson also missed 8 of 10 attempts from the free throw line in overtime and were outrebounded 46-28.
Poly opened the first quarter discombobulated, only mustering three of their first 14 shot attempts to trail 14-6. Patterson, meanwhile, made six of their first nine attempts.
The Engineers busted out the second quarter with a 12-0 run spanning nearly four minutes to take their first lead at 16-14 and pushing it to 18-14 after Mims (12 points and five rebounds) flushed an alley-oop slam off a lob from Deshaun Mosley.
Poly took a 22-20 lead into the break and extended it to 26-20 when Perry jarred a two-handed dunk in the first two minutes of the third quarter.
Right after Patterson trailed by eight in the fourth quarter, they rattled off a 10-0 run behind two 3’s from sophomore Marvin Price (game-high 22 points) to take a 40-38 lead with 3:18 left in regulation.
From there, Perry sealed Poly’s second straight appearance in the Baltimore City A league championship game by recording 10 of the final 16 points.
“I was happy we dug out of it with our defense,” Brand said. “And finished it with our stud.”
Poly freshman point guard Rahim Ali added nine points, five assists and three steals.