Lakers, Poets renew rivalry Clifton hopes to reverse trend

January 22, 1993|By Derek Toney | Derek Toney,Contributing Writer

When a crowd of more than 6,100 witnessed Lake Clifton defeat Dunbar, 74-67, in boys basketball on Jan. 20, 1989, it was then the largest crowd at Morgan State's Hill Field House for any event other than a 1987 performance by comedian Bill Cosby.

Since then, the Dunbar-Lake Clifton game has continued to be the highest-attended event at the field house.

Tonight, another capacity crowd is expected for the renewal of one of the area's traditional rivalries. But recently, something has been missing from it -- a victory by Lake Clifton.

The No. 2 Lakers (9-3, 4-0) will try to change that and claim the top spot from the Poets (9-3, 4-0) in an 8 o'clock start. It is the first of two meetings at Morgan between the co-leaders of the Maryland Scholastic Association Gamper Conference 4A-1A Division.

"It's just another night," said Lake Clifton coach Charlie Moore, sitting in his office Tuesday evening. "I can't say that I'm not looking forward to it because this is what you're in the business for, to play the best, and right now they are still the best."

Since that 1989 loss, Dunbar, ranked No. 17 in this week's USA Today Super 25, has won the past eight meetings with Lake Clifton and has won 36 straight against area opponents since a 60-57 loss to Southern in the MSA A Conference championship game at the Baltimore Arena on March 3, 1990.

Both Lake Clifton and Dunbar didn't fare well against out-of-town competition, losing to nationally ranked Simon Gratz (Pa.) and St. Anthony (N.J.) in the Charm City Classic at the Towson Center last weekend.

"We'll be OK," said Dunbar coach Pete Pompey, whose team lost two straight for the first time since his first season as coach in the 1986-87 season. "We're not going to making any drastic changes. We're young and inexperienced, but a lot more has been expected of us because we are Dunbar."

Tonight's game will be a matchup of Lake Clifton's speed with 5-foot-8 senior point guard Kevin Norris and 5-5 sophomore shooting guard Shawnta Rogers against the Poets' size in the front line of 6-7 junior forward Alexander Mobley, 6-8 junior center Norman Nolan and 6-7 senior forward all-American Keith Booth.

"We are going to attack them," said Norris, who sustained a twisted ankle in Tuesday's 86-62 win over No. 11 Edmondson, but is expected to play tonight. "We have the speed, and we must go at them. They better get ready and saddle up for a run-and-gun game."

Pompey said that his Poets won't get into a running game with Lake Clifton, which means they will have to handle the Lakers' defensive pressure.

"It has always been tough games with Lake Clifton," Pompey said, "and recently we have been fortunate enough to win, and that's a credit to the young men that have played in our program.

"We're not a team that isn't unapproachable. We're going to have a whole lot of things to win now than we had to do in the past."

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