BOYS BASKETBALL: Scoring king Patton keeps putting up numbers despite little notoriety for Rochester Hills Christian

| February 26, 2016 | Comments (0)




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ROCHESTER HILLS — Ryan Patton steps in, steals a pass, then races downcourt to make a quick feed for a layup by a teammate.

Moments later, he receives a pass near the top of the key and calmly drills a deep three-pointer with a defender in his face.

Again, on the next possession, Patton snares a rebound in traffic, then goes coast-to-coast weaving through players before converting a layup of his own.

That’s the type of player Patton has become during his high school playing days. He has the knack of doing a little bit of everything on the court for his school.

Patton, now a senior checking in at 6-foot-2 and 185 pounds, has had quite a high school and AAU career playing at Rochester Hills Christian High School and T.E.A.M. basketball, respectively.

Rochester Hills Christian has around 75 high school students but has enjoyed plenty of hard court success on the small-school circuit, while T.E.A.M. is an up-and-coming AAU program.

“Ryan Patton is an amazing young man, very talented,” admitted Jon Bronsing, in his 11th non-consecutive season at Rochester Hills Christian. “I knew in junior high he would be very special. He’s meant the world to our program. He’s one of the best players ever to come out of our school and the best all-around player I have coached.”

Rochester Hills Christian, which opened in the mid-1970s, is not a member of the Michigan High School Athletic Association despite playing several MHSAA members in sports. The Eagles are members of the smaller Michigan Association of Christian Schools.

Patton has thrived playing schools of all sizes and does not back down against any opponent. Not being in the MHSAA allotted Patton and his teammates the right to travel to Florida in December and play in an eight-school high school tournament. Patton more than shined, recording double-doubles in every game going up against three defending state champions from other states, including some that featured NCAA Division I and Division II recruits.

He was the unanimous choice for Tournament MVP after scoring at least 35 points in all three games for a team with just eight players and no player above 6-foot-3. Patton, who plays shooting guard, is the second tallest player on his team but plays much bigger than his wirery frame.

“It doesn’t matter who we play. I just want to go out there and make my teammates better and help my team win basketball games,” said the unselfish and unheralded Patton, who carries a stellar 3.7 GPA.

This season Patton is averaging an Oakland County-best 34.2 points an outing — Oakland County has nearly 70 varsity teams this winter — to go along with 15.0 rebounds, 4.0 steals, 4.0 assists and 2.0 blocks a game.

As a junior, Patton broke the single-season school scoring record with an Oakland County scoring title of 30.7 points a game average, snapping the 1997 Rochester Hills Christian school record mark of 29.2 points a game set by Adam Blanchard (Wayne State) nearly two decades ago. Those scoring titles put him in a rare company of Oakland County players to average over 30 points a game for a season — and he has done it twice.

His rebounds average this season is another school record, along with most three-pointers in a season and career, most career wins  (103), all-time leading scorer in school history, and points in a single game (52). He also has the most double-doubles in a season and career amongst numerous other school marks. He ranks in the top 10 for single-game, season and career in a multitude of other categories.

Patton, who has led his team to 17 straight wins during his sophomore year and 19 straight to open this season, does not come off the floor much, except in the fourth quarter of some blowout wins, averaging nearly 30 minutes a game.

“His numbers are big, but we need him on the floor. He makes his teammates better. He’s a great leader,” said Bronsing. “He never stops hustling. He has a great work ethic. He’s the first one in the gym before practice and the last one to leave — a gym rat.”

Patton has made sure the non-MHSAA taboo doesn’t follow him around. With T.E.A.M. Basketball last summer, his stock rose quickly. At the Up North Challenge, he led his team to the semifinals and was an unanimous choose to the All-Tournament Team playing agist players from Detroit, Flint, Saginaw and others from around the state.

“That gave me a lot more exposure,” he said. “I went from coming off the bench to scoring close to 20 points a game with them.”

Patton was brought up to varsity during his eighth grade campaign, eligible under the National High School Federation and MHSAA rules that allows schools of 99 or fewer students in grades 9-12 the right to use eighth grade athletes on varsity without the loss of future eligibility.

Throughout his playing career, Patton has played on five teams that has captured or shared the Fundamental Baptist Athletic Conference Red Division league championship. This year the Eagles finished 8-0 in conference play.

“I think that’s important,” said Patton. “One of our goals is always been able to contend for the league and we’ve been able to do that every year.”

In the Michigan Association of Christian Schools Division I state tournament, Patton and his Eagles finished as the state runner-up in 2012 (17-7) and 2013 (21-5), captured the state title in 2014 (25-2) and again finished as the state runner-up in 2015 (17-9) despite his school graduating eight players from the year before.

This season, Rochester Hills Christian is the top-seed in the MACS Division I circles with a 23-2 ledger and is trying to advance to its seventh berth in the MACS state finals and to its third title overall (1992 and 2014 were the title years).

Top-ranked Rochester Hills Christian (23-2) will play at 6 p.m. Friday at Davison Faith Baptist in the MACS Division I state semifinals against fellow state powerhouse and No. 4-rated  Temperance Stateline Christian. Patton scored 42 in last year’s 71-66, overtime state semifinals victory over Stateline Christian.

Patton, who earned All-FBAC Red Division First Team honors as both sophomore and junior and is a lock for Conference MVP this season, has gained plenty of NCAA Division II, NCAA Division III and NAIA exposure the last two years. Elmhurst College, Albion College, Alma College, Kalamazoo College, Arcadia University, Madonna College, Grand Valley State, Ferris State State, Philadelphia University of Science and Concordia College-Ann Arbor have all shown interest with several making offers in recent months.

He said he will wait until after the season is complete to make a college decision.

“It’s been my goal, ever since I was in eighth or ninth grade, to play college basketball,” said Patton. “I am waiting to see what comes up. If any bigger schools come (into the picture) I will consider. But I really want to play, so maybe going to a smaller college where I could play right away is the right fit for me. There are a couple of schools that really want me.”

Right now, Patton is just trying to lead his team back to the final day of his senior season, which could be the MACS-I state title game at 5 p.m. Feb. 27 at Clarkston Springfield Christian High School. Defending champion Troy Bethany Christian and No. 2 seeded Waterford Lakecrest Baptist, last year’s D-II state champ, await in the other semifinal.

“Our goal is to win another title. We won one a couple of years ago and last year we lost in the finals. That is the worst feeling,” admitted Patton. “For us (three) seniors, this is our last shot.”

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