Western holds off Lake Clifton

January 30, 1993|By Kevin Eck | Kevin Eck,Contributing Writer

Western coach Breezy Bishop referred to yesterday's game against Lake Clifton as a "wake-up call" for her team.

It was probably an awakening for both teams.

For the first time this season, top-ranked Western was challenged. But Girls basketball

the Doves were able to overcome an early 13-point deficit and defeat host and No. 14 Lake Clifton, 71-60, in a City-Wide 4A League game.

Sophomores Chanel Wright (24 points, eight rebounds, four steals) and Kimberly Smith (18 points, seven assists) led Western (17-0, 12-0), which clinched at least a tie for the league title with the win. The Doves have dealt Lake Clifton (11-5, 10-2) its only two league losses.

"We needed this kind of close game," said Bishop, whose team was winning by an average margin of 54 points before yesterday. "We have to have our game-face on every game."

The Lakers certainly had theirs on.

After losing to Western, 56-27, on Jan. 5, Lake Clifton coach James Monroe predicted a closer game in the next meeting. Many probably didn't take him seriously, but his players believed.

"The first game was like a practice to get ready for this one," said Lake Clifton's 6-foot-5 sophomore center Natisha Ferguson, who had 15 points and nine rebounds. "We looked at a tape of the first game and we looked at our mistakes. We realized it shouldn't have been that way.

"This game really raises our confidence. Playing against Western gives us a chance to see how things are going to be. I think we have one of the best teams in the state."

From the onset, it was apparent that Lake Clifton was ready for yesterday's game.

The Lakers, who were led by Lashina Gross (19 points, four assists) and Celena Falline (17 points, 12 rebounds), raced to an 8-0 lead in the first minute-and-a-half, a reversal of the team's first meeting when Western took a 9-0 lead. Lake Clifton increased its lead to 16-3 with 1:35 remaining in the first quarter.

Monroe said he used a variety of defenses in an attempt to confuse the Doves early.

"I gave them different looks so they could never adjust to what we were doing," he said. "Last time I only used a 2-1-2, but this time I ran a trap, a diamond and a 2-1-2."

Western, ranked 19th in the nation by USA Today, adjusted in the second quarter. The Doves took their first lead, 20-19, on Wright's drivinglayup off a steal with 5:57 remaining in the first half.

Those who expected Lake Clifton to wilt, however, were in for a surprise.

The Lakers regained the lead, 28-26, on Tammy Lea's basket with with 2:55 left, before Western rallied to take a 32-29 halftime lead.

Falline opened the second half with a basket to pull the Lakers within one, but that's as close as they would get.

Western took a 51-44 lead after three quarters, although Lake Clifton remained within striking distance in the fourth quarter.

"Lake played a great game," Bishop said. "I thought they played an intelligent game. We hung on for dear life. This wasn't one of our better games, but in the end we put it together."

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