Patrick Tapé’s says he’ll always remember his first high school basketball game.
Tapé, then a 6-foot-4, 160-pound Queens Grant freshman forward, had 10 points, 10 rebounds, three steals and two blocks in a dramatic 67-64 triple overtime loss (Nov. 19, 2012) to Carmel Christian.
Tapé fouled out of the game, but he left a good impression on everyone, including Carmel’s coach Jay Forsythe.
Forsythe and Tapé went their separate ways after that game, but fate would soon bring them back together. The following March, Forsythe became head basketball coach at Queens Grant.
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“Being my first high school game, I still remember that game vividly, and how bad I wanted to win and then fouling out, and losing in overtime,” Tapé said. “Coach Forsythe and I still give each other a hard time about that game. I always tell him it wasn’t a real win because I think the refs gave them some home court calls that night. (Coach Forsythe) always tells me that his coaching made the difference. It was kind of crazy how we ended up together.”
Forsyth said “even as a freshman, you could see how good a player Patrick was. He was finishing, rebounding, blocking shots, getting steals and I remember thinking ‘who is this kid?’
“Patrick definitely ended up being one of reasons I decided to take the Queens Grant job. I remember thinking Patrick was definitely the type of player you could build around. It’s been great to watch him develop into a great player.”
Tapé now has grown into a 6-foot-9, 225-pounds senior who has committed to play at basketball at Columbia University.
He now averages 13 points, 12 rebounds and six block per game. To date, Tapé has 38 career double-doubles, six career triple-doubles and two career, quadruple doubles, with his most recent coming last season when he posted 15 points, 16 rebounds, 10 assists and 11 blocks in a 60-52 win over South Davidson.
Despite facing constant double and even triple teams, Tapé is having a strong season, averaging 10 points, 11 rebounds, seven blocks and four assists per game.
Tapé had a big weekend recently at Wake Christian Academy’s Bulldog Classic Jan. 15-16, recording 12 points, 16 rebounds, seven assists, six blocks and three assists in the championship game win over Wake Christian (61-58 win).
“It’s frustrating getting two or three coming at you every time I touch the ball, but I’ve learned to deal with it,” Tapé said. “If I’m not scoring, I look for all the other ways I can help our team win by finding others guys, getting rebounds or playing great defense.”
Forsythe and Tapé have helped turn Queens Grant into a consistent winner going from 11 wins in their first season to a 17-9 mark last year to 11-5 this year.
Queens Grant made their first trip to the playoffs in school history in the 2013-14 season. They lost that year in the first round. Last year they posted their best season ever, but again the team lost in the first round of the playoffs. The team is in position to improve on last year’s performance.
While a lot of the defensive attention goes to Tapé, other Stallions have emerged – Terron Dixon (17 ppg, 7 rpg), Stephen Sawyer (9 ppg, 8 rpg), Jace Weir (8 ppg, 4 apg).
“I’ve become a more complete player and a more confident player each year at Queens Grant,” Tapé said. “More importantly, we have also gotten better as a team each year. Hopefully, we can take it a step further this season, host a playoff game or more and go a round or two or more in the playoffs. Our goal is play for championships in the conference, region and state.”
Tapé also says being a college basketball player “is a dream come true.” He’s a straight-A student excited about going to the Ivy League school in New York.
“When I got the call (from Columbia basketball coach Kyle Smith) that I got in, I was at a loss for words,” Tapé said. “Ever since, I started playing basketball it was my dream to go to a great school and be able to play college basketball. To see it all come to fruition, to get the opportunity to become a real student-athlete is amazing.
“To get the chance to play basketball in New York City is also exciting. There’s a basketball court on every corner.”
Jay Edwards is a freelance writer: firstname.lastname@example.org.