When pairings for the 19th annual Times-Dispatch Invitational Tournament (TDIT) were announced in September, it only took a moment for Patrick Henry to see that it could happen again, “it” being another matchup with the Cosby Titans.
Cosby had eliminated the Patriots from the last two Central Region girls basketball tournaments. And with five players on their roster standing 6 feet tall and higher, another Titan test would, literally and figuratively, be a tall order.
First, though, Patrick Henry had to battle a fellow unbeaten in Friday’s first round in Meadowbrook. The game was played on the banks of the James at Trinity Episcopal School, and the Patriots produced what head coach Phillip Cobb termed “some of our best basketball of the season” as Patrick Henry won 59-46.
Amber Lee’s hot start gave the Patriots a lead they’d never relinquish, with 14 of her 19 points coming in the first half. Summer Price took over after intermission, pouring in 22 of her game-high 32 points in the final 16 minutes, using her patented dribble drive to earn seemingly endless trips to the free throw line. She cashed in, hitting 12 of 13 shots.
But Cobb noted quickly that the one-two offensive punch was only part of the key to success against the Monarchs.
“I was really proud of all the girls. It really started on the defensive side,” Cobb explained. “Meadowbrook is a good team with very good scorers, but we played well defensively.”
Meadowbrook was led by freshman guard Morgan Batie with 19 points, the only Monarch to reach double figures. When Meadowbrook had chances to cut into the Patriot lead at the charity stripe, they missed, making 15 free throws, but missing 15 others.
The win advanced the Patriots to the expected showdown with Cosby Saturday at Randolph-Macon College in the semifinals, and, despite their best efforts, the inside game of the Titans was simply overwhelming. Attacking the offensive glass, collecting second chance points, Cosby’s efficient, and consistent offense pulled away from Patrick Henry for a 68-43 victory.
“They have four girls that’ll probably be Division I players, five players over six feet tall, they’re an elite team,” Cobb said. “Before the game, we said they’re bigger, they’re stronger and faster than we are, but if we want it more, we thought we could hang in there. We tried, we did what we could, but at the end of the day they were just too much for us.”
Dorothy Adomako, who signed with Georgetown last month, led the Titans (7-0) with 24 points, while Tyra Whitehead had 16. Price led the Patriots (7-1) with 20, while Lee had 13.
There is a silver lining after the dark day at Crenshaw Gymnasium Saturday for Patrick Henry. They know they won’t face Cosby again this season, as the Titans are in the new 6A classification, while the Patriots are in 5A.
Patrick Henry played Monday afternoon at the Siegel Center in Richmond in the third place game against long-time former Colonial District rival Hermitage. For details on that game, visit herald-progress.com, or check our Facebook and Twitter pages.