Yesterday's Maryland Scholastic Association A Conference Division I basketball game between Southwestern and Lake Clifton looked more like a track meet. Both teams raced up and down the court, putting up 152 shots.
In the end, the No. 6-ranked Lakers crossed the finish line first with a late burst to knock the fifth-ranked Sabers from the ranks of the unbeaten, 78-67.
Guard Shawnta Rogers and forward Anthony Lang each scored 18 for Lake Clifton (7-1, 3-1). Guards Haywood Eaddy and Issac Williams scored 13 apiece to lead Southwestern (7-1, 2-1).
Rogers, a 5-foot-5 freshman, was the catalyst for the Lakers in the final minutes with nine points and one assist, as they scored the game's last 15 points.
For the Sabers, it was a case of running out of shots and surprises. The Sabers, unranked at the beginning of the season, had beaten four teams in The Baltimore Sun top 20 poll to leap all the way to No. 5 entering yesterday's contest.
Leading, 67-63, with 3 minutes, 41 seconds remaining, Southwestern failed to maintain ball control against the Lakers' half-court press and missed its last 10 shots.
"This was a game we should have won," said Sabers coach Terry Leverette. "We were ahead and had possession. We practice every night on controlling the ball. We practice spreading the offense and breaking the press. Then we got out here and weren't able to do it. We looked erratic."
By the time Williams' jumper had given the Sabers their four-point lead, both teams already had fired up 137 shots, or 4.9 per minute.
But the Lakers, who have averaged 102.7 points, finally got hot. Rogers started it with a three-pointer.
After Southwestern missed the front end of a one-and-one, Rogers' behind the back assist set up Terrance Payne's dunk for a 68-67 lead.
"Our shot selection wasn't that great in the first half," said Lake Clifton coach Charlie Moore of his team's 12-of-46 output. "We did a pretty good job on the boards, but I think the difference in the ballgame was our defense. We turned it up a notch."