ATWATER -- Bryant La Count sat on the Atwater bench after Friday's game with Patterson, mopping up the blood flowing freely from his nose.
The errant elbow that had caused the damage was a testament to the performance La Count had just turned in.
It wasn't even the first time La Count bled on the night.
The senior forward already had to change his jersey after ripping open a gash on his elbow while crashing to the floor on an attempted offensive rebound.
La Count banged bodies inside, dove into the crowd and hit the floor numerous times.
His effort wasn't enough to stop a 58-48 Patterson victory, but for Atwater coach John Kane, it was a step in the right direction.
"We have to play scrappy like that if we're going to be successful," Kane said. "We need to have kids skin their knees and have to change out their jersey in the game.
"I was happy with how we played in spurts, but we have to play that way for the entire game."
The game got away from Atwater in the second quarter.
Down 15-11 after one quarter, Kane's squad became sloppy with the ball and Patterson's athletes took full advantage.
Led by Felix Mapanda (game-high 22 points) and Ken Foster (14 points), Patterson forced 12 second-quarter turnovers and turned them into easy transition points.
Seven Patterson players scored in the quarter as the visiting club pushed its lead to 19 at the half.
"Our mistake was we tried to get into a track meet with them," Kane said. "You can't try to run with athletes like that.
"We turned the ball over and they just kept increasing their lead."
Atwater responded with a much better effort in the second half.
Showing the grit that Kane covets, Atwater got Patterson out of its offensive rhythm and began chipping away at the lead.
"We just need to put our hearts out and lay it all on the line," said La Count, who finished with a team-high 17 points and 13 rebounds.
"We were much more physical in the second half and it got them frustrated."
La Count and point guard Eriq Belt (13 points) began finding success driving at the Patterson defense, twice helping cut the deficit to 10.
But Atwater never got any closer.
"It was just turnovers that cost us in the second quarter," Belt said. "We need to be disciplined for the whole game, and we weren't tonight."
PATTERSON 58, ATWATER 48
Patterson 15 24 11 8 -- 58
Atwater 11 10 14 13 -- 48
PATTERSON -- Ken Foster 14, Felix Mapanda 22, Wyatt Youn 3, Justin Knucolls 5, Jelani Brown 2, Emmanuel Brooks 3, Ramone Ellington 5, Imani Brown 2. Totals 26 4-10 58.
ATWATER -- Eriq Belt 13, Andrew Rogers 3, Giovanni Dalmaso 2, Colton Beatty 4, Bryant La Count 17, Albert Martinez 9. Totals 18 11-24 48.
3-pointers: Patterson 2 (Youn, Ellington), Atwater (); Total Fouls: Patterson 19, Atwater; Fouls Outs: None.
Records: Patterson 9-3, Atwater 3-8.
JV -- Atwater 66-42.