The Polytech Panthers boys basketball squad will once again return to the State Quarterfinals after fending off a very tough St. Elizabeth team, 68-62 on Saturday afternoon.
Devaughn Mallory and Antonio DePina led the way for the Panthers; combined the two scored 42 of the Panthers 68 points.
The Panthers took advantage of a slow start by St. Elizabeth to gain a 10-point lead at the end of one quarter of play. While St. E’s was able to snap out of their flat start, the Polytech offense continued to keep pace holding the 10-point advantage at the break.
The Vikings would make their run to start the second half, led by Andre Patton and Brandon Gautier; St. E’s was able to duplicate their entire first half point total in the third quarter. Polytech did their best to weather the storm, but their lead was trimmed to only 4 heading into the final quarter.
The game had an up-tempo feel from the tip, as both teams traded coast-to-coast baskets, scrambled for loose balls, and applied an aggressive full-court press defense through the contest’s first three quarters.
The fourth quarter was no different as both teams tried to match the other score-for-score. In the end, the Panthers were able to save their best offensive output of the night for the fourth quarter, and they would need every point.
While St. E’s continued where they left off after the third, their 18 points in the fourth were only matched by Polytech’s 20, allowing the Panthers to sneak away with a 6-point win in a very competitive game.
Patton finished with a game-high 23 for the Vikings, followed by Gautier with 17 to lead the way for St. E’s.
Mallory scored a team-high 22 for Polytech, while DePina contributed 20 for the Panthers in the win.
Polytech will now go on to face #2 Howard in the Quarterfinals on Wednesday night; tip-off is scheduled for 8 p.m. at Salesianum High School.