It’s becoming a habit for Randall Broddie, hitting these deep threes in the first minute of games, firing early warning shots to announce the arrival of No. 11 Potomac (Md.) and remind opponents that any amount of space behind the three-point line is too much to give the Wolverines back court.
Broddie started the Maryland 2A state semifinal against Patterson on Friday night at Comcast Center with a three-pointer — much as he did the 2A South final a week ago — and the Wolverines seemed poised to run to the final, staying on top for three quarters. Then, when star Dion Wiley fouled out, Patterson took its first lead, and the Wolverines’ title dreams looked to be unravelling in the fourth quarter. But it was Broddie that steadied them, finishing with 30 points, including seven in the final four minutes, to lift Potomac to a 70-65 win and a trip to the 2A final Saturday against Oakdale at 6 p.m.
“That’s what I try to do every game, what I really pride myself on: setting the tone and coming out early,” Broddie said. “When you set the tone early, that gets into people’s mental state. The game is X’s and O’s, but it’s also momentum, so then when Dion fouled out, I knew I had to go.”
Broddie had five threes in the first three quarters, joined in the scoring attack by Wiley and Quadree Smith. That trio propelled Potomac, scoring 29 of the team’s 35 points in the first half. The Wolverines rode Smith’s size when Patterson’s speedy guards pressured Broddie and Wiley outside. Smith finished with 20 points and 18 rebounds to bolster Broddie’s standout effort.
“I brought [Smith] over for my insurance policy,” joked Potomac Coach Renard Johnson about Smith, who transferred from Paul VI in January. “. . . He made me feel good, the way he was getting those rebounds. He was a man possessed.”
Thanks to the relentless inside efforts of Smith and fellow forwards Anthony Smith and Dayjar Dickson, the Wolverines (22-5) outrebounded Patterson 43-31, a margin that proved crucial late when Patterson was within one in the game’s final minutes, then within three for much of the final 90 seconds.
The Smiths had more size than the Patterson bigs and added blocks to their boards, including a crucial Anthony Smith denial with less than two minutes left that turned would-be Patterson points into a Potomac possession and helped the Wolverines escape despite the early departure of their Maryland-bound senior leader.
“Dion, he’s a vital player to our team, but we’ve got more weapons on the floor,” Quadree Smith said. “We’ve got a lot of ways we can score.”
Wiley finished with 13 points, combining with Broddie to shoot 6 of 11 from three, while bearing down defensively to hold Patterson to 1 of 18 shooting from behind the arc.