Lake Clifton's boys basketball team continued to be one of the area's biggest surprises last week while competing in the Sacramento (Calif.) Exchange Basketball Tournament.
The third-ranked Lakers, who have one starter from last season, won all three games to improve to 5-1. The Lakers' only loss was in double overtime by a point to McKinley Tech in Washington.
In Sacramento, Lake Clifton beat three Sacramento-area schools -- Hiram Johnson, 91-40; Grant, 87-71, and McClatchy, 81-58.
Senior point guard Curtis Sheppard led the Lakers with 48 points, 30 assists and seven steals in the three games, but Lakers coach Charlie Moore was quick to point out that several players contributed to the successful West Coast trip.
Senior center Harold Smith had 24 points and 17 rebounds against Grant, and sophomore center Robert Brown had 16 points and 13 rebounds against McClatchy.
"The kids played as a unit," said Moore, who also cited the solid play of sophomore guard Kevin Norris, freshman center Cornell Ward and junior forward Anthony Lang. "They represented the East Coast very well. I was proud of them on the court, as well as off the court."
In addition to getting a tour of Sacramento while playing at three gymnasiums, the Lakers toured San Francisco.
"We saw the Golden Gate Bridge, Bay Bridge and we also saw some of the areas that were devastated by the earthquake. We visited Fisherman's Wharf, which is like Harborplace but bigger, and we rode on cable cars."
Moore and his team will have a break until their next game, Jan. 5 against No. 9 Poly, but the area's other top five teams will be playing in holiday tournaments this week.
Top-ranked Dunbar, which won the championship of last weekend's Gonzaga/D.C. Classic, will be at the War Memorial Tournament in Johnstown, Pa., Friday and Saturday.
Friday the Poets meet Werhle Memorial (Ohio) at 7 p.m. The four-team tournament field also includes Washington Dunbar, a team the Poets have beaten twice. Washington Dunbar plays Hempfield (Pa.) in the first round.
Dunbar's first-round opponent features honorable mention All-American Jeff Stanley, a 6-foot-6 senior. Werhle has won five of the past six Ohio Division IV state titles.
No. 2 Annapolis will again play host to the Capital City Classic, Thursday and Friday. The Panthers take on City at 8 p.m. in the first round after Great Mills plays Poly at 6 p.m. Great Mills is a last-minute replacement for Northwestern (Prince George's), the defending tournament champion, which pulled out of the tournament.
No. 4 Southern of Baltimore will participate in the Norfolk (Va.) Catholic Tournament on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
Southern takes on Granby (Va.) in the opening round Thursday at 5:45 p.m. The Bulldogs expect star point guard David Cason (sprained ankle) to be ready for the tournament. Cason sprained the ankle at practice Thursday and sat out the team's loss to Cardinal Gibbons Friday.
No. 5 Gibbons will be participating in the Kingdom of the Sun Tournament in Ocala, Fla., Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Monday. Sunday is a day off. Gibbons takes on Countryside (Fla.) Thursday at 2:30 p.m. in a first-round game.