St. Patrick Has Great Caracter

FORT MYERS, Fla. – Simply put, it was the high school game of the year so far on the national stage and it had all the ingredients of a classic. Toss in the fact it was the first game in the high school career of Derrick Caracter and this one will be talked about for a long time.

St. Andrews, St. Patrick Game An Instant Classic

"I've been in bigger games before," St. Patrick freshman center Derrick Caracter said.

Yeah right.

In front of a capacity crowd of 2,300, St. Patrick defeated St. Andrews 78-77 in overtime to advance into the semifinals of the City of Palms Classic.

Caracter, the freshman, hit Michael Nardi, the senior, with a smooth backdoor bounce pass with 4.8 seconds remaining in overtime. It was the same play St. Patrick used late in the ballgame to help it get into the extra session. It was keyed by a freshman, but he's mature well beyond his years. This was his first high school basketball game. The stat line read: 15 points, 5 rebounds, 2 big assists and 3 turnovers. What it didn't say is that this behemoth has a sweet jumpshot and a feel for the game that transcends what we normally expect from a 6-9, 285 pound freshman.

Meanwhile, St. Andrews played like Warriors throughout the game. For example, Demetris Nichols' follow slam was the first play of the game. Later he would go through a stretch where he was unconscious; blocking shots, grabbing boards and makings 3s. He finished with 17 points and 15 boards.

When Nichols finally cooled off, Abdi Lidonde caught fire. He went for 25 points and made all the clutch shots as regulation time wound down. He was big time in this one. At one point, he just couldn't miss and we're talking tough, clutch shots here.

And then there was Jason Patterson. The St. Pat's senior made a few clutch 3s of his own. He took 13 of them and made 4 but everyone in the building could attest to the gravity of his makes. And we can't forget Michael Nardi's 14 points. He had at least 4 assists and had to hold back getting sick right in front of press row. Center Grant Billmeier, also a victim of a stomach virus, had 10 and 9.

It was one of those "had to be there" games to really appreciate the competitiveness, coaching and performance of the kids.

In a big time setting, St. Patrick and St. Andrews couldn't have given us more.

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