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PHCC comeback bid comes up just short
Patriots fall in exhibition game to Hargrave
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Patrick Henry Community College’s Luchel Sylvain drives to the basket during the Patriots’ 85-80 loss to Hargrave Military Academy on Tuesday at PHCC. Sylvain scored five points in the loss. (Kenny Webster photo)

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

By MARK THOMPSON - Bulletin Sports Writer

Patrick Henry Community College was a few mistakes away from taking down Hargrave Military Academy on Tuesday in Martinsville.

And even with that, the Patriots were inches from sending the game to overtime in a 85-80 exhibition game loss.

Down 83-80 with final possession, PHCC ran a play to get 6-foot-4 wingman Kris Harris, who finished with 20 points, a shot from long range. He came around the baseline and to the left side of the 3-point line to get the ball, but had Hargrave’s Zach Davis in front of him.

Harris moved left to create some separation, pulled up and faded back to shoot over Davis’ hand. The shot was off but hit the backboard and bounced off the backside of the rim.

“I thought it was (in). I hoped it was,” PHCC KiJuan Arrington said. “But it came off. And I went for the rebound and they called an offensive foul.”

That foul put Anton Gill on the line for Hargrave, and the Louisville-commitment hit both free throws to ice the game.

Gill, who had 13 points, five rebounds and three assists, wasn’t the only Division-I commitment in the game. Point guard Terry Rozier (20 points and 4 rebounds) is also committed to Louisville, highlighting the depth of talent on Hargrave’s roster.

Hargrave forced PHCC into a litany of turnovers early in the game, almost putting the Patriots out of the game early.

“Coach told us in the locker room that we had 15 turnovers in the first half, so we just had to turn it up another notch,” PHCC forward Bruce Elder Jr. said. “We had to stop letting guys bully us around.”

The Patriots almost went into halftime with a 15-point deficit on top of those 15 turnovers, but Arrington hit a 3-pointer from just inside halfcourt to cut the lead to 12.

Hargrave head coach A.W. Hamilton said those three points felt more like 13.

“I thought they took the momentum going to halftime. They came out in the second half and outplayed us for the first five minutes,” Hamilton said. “I thought it was huge, because instead of being up 15, we’re up 12. And then they start the half, they’ve got the momentum and they play really hard.”

All those mistakes PHCC made early in the game, it made up for in the second half. Within eight minutes of play, Patrick Henry was trailing by just six points.

The Patriots took the lead for the first time in the second half with 10:37 remaining when Arrington drilled a 3-pointer.

Arrington had 23 points and 10 rebounds, leading the Patriots in both categories.

He had to leave the game briefly in the second half with cramps in his calf.

PHCC expanded its lead to three a few times, the first of which was a 65-62 lead with 10 minutes remaining.

“Definitely, we thought we had it,” PHCC coach Kenny Wade said. “We should have had it.”

Hargrave and PHCC went neck-and-neck until the final two minutes when Hargrave held a 3-point lead and had the ball.

PHCC freshman guard Luchel Sylvain fouled Hargrave’s Greg McClinton, putting him on the line. McClinton made both free throws and finished with 13 points and 10 rebounds.

“That was a mental lapse,” Wade said. “He’s coming from high school. He didn’t realize the 35-second shot clock. But that’s stuff that we can work through.”

There is no shot-clock in high school.

Patrick Henry returned the call when Daquan Kerman was fouled on a pull-up jumper and made both free throws to cut the lead to three again.

PHCC’s defense was so tenacious on the following possession that Hargrave hardly moved the ball within five feet of the 3-point line, let alone inside of it.

Gill got the ball in that possession with four seconds left on the shot clock and didn’t even realize it till the buzzer sounded.

That gave the Patriots the chance at the last shot of regulation.

And yet, even after staging a 15-point comeback to take the lead late in the game, it was again another mistake that made Harris’ take the difficult shot at the end of the game.

“I take the blame for that,” said Elder, who had 16 points and seven rebounds. “I was supposed to set Kris another pick, but I failed and got caught up in my last pick set for my point guard. I’m taking the full responsibility for that.”

Wade said they’ll learn from the exhibition game, especially that they need to cut down on their errors.

Of course, for a team without its two returning starters and the majority of its prior experience, PHCC also learned a little of what they’re capable of.

“Both of our returning starters, they didn’t even play today,” Elder said. “We’re all freshman and we’re just coming out here and playing with heart.”

NOTES: Former Magna Vista standout and all-Piedmont District player Gervelle Kidd returned to the Martinsville-Henry County area Tuesday with Hargrave, but did not play for the team as he is dealing with a right ankle injury. Kidd twisted his ankle when going for a rebound earlier this year and then landed on his teammates foot.

Hamilton said he wanted to give Kidd rest.

“He’s a huge part of our team and he’s worked his tail off,” Hamilton said. “You know he’s signing with Hofstra (today).”

Kidd said the decision to sign with Hofstra University wasn’t easy, but after visiting the school in Long Island, N.Y., he felt wanted their and loved his visit.

“I loved the school, I loved how they treated me. ... so that’s where I wanted to go,” Kidd said.

Kidd said Hofstra watched him play for the first time two weeks before the school offered him, then returned in the same week to watch him again.

The next week, Kidd said Hofstra head coach Mo Cassara came to watch him play the following week.

“It was the first time he saw me play, and he liked the way I played (and) he offered me,” Kidd said.


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