Lake Clifton clinches crown

February 24, 1993|By Derek Toney | Derek Toney,Contributing Writer

Needing a victory yesterday to secure a spot in Saturday's Maryland Scholastic Association Gamper Conference championship game, Lake Clifton had its destiny in its hands.

But all it would need was Kevin Norris.

Norris, the lone senior starter, scored 30 points and had 12 assists to lead the No. 2 Lakers to a 96-84 victory over No. 16 Edmondson to clinch first place in the 4A-1A Division.

Sophomore guard Shawnta Rogers had 25 points and six assists for the Lakers (16-4, 11-1). Randolph Edison led Edmondson (12-8, 7-5) with 30, and Maurice Blanding had 23.

Lake Clifton will meet No. 3 Walbrook, the winner of the 3A-2A Division, in the title game at Dunbar at 7. In December, the Lakers defeated the Warriors, 103-87, in the Function at the Junction Mixer.

Even though the Lakers and No. 1 Dunbar finished with the same division record, the Lakers won the tiebreaker under the MPSSAA's third tiebreaker rule, which is won-lost percentage vs. member schools. Lake Clifton finished 16-1 (.941) and Dunbar 11-1 (.917).

The first tiebreaker, opponents' season record vs. one another, didn't apply because the teams split during the regular season.

The second tiebreaker is won-lost percentage vs. member schools within their own classification. That rule didn't apply, either, because Dunbar is the lone Class 1A school in the 4A-1A Division.

A loss by the Lakers would have given them a 15-2 record (.882), allowing the Poets to play on their home court Saturday. They made sure that didn't happen and will be playing in an MSA conference title game for the first time since the 1988-89 season.

"The kids sort of won it for me," said Lake Clifton coach Charlie Moore, whose father-in-law died Saturday afternoon. "Instead of saying 'defense' in the huddle, they said 'Coach,' which was nice. It's hard to stay focused, but the guys went out there and won it."

The Lakers also were playing for first time since Friday's loss to Dunbar, which ended their four-week reign atop the poll.

On two occasions, Lake Clifton built double-digit leads on the scrappy Redskins, only to see them rally, but Norris was there to answer for the Lakers.

With 55 seconds remaining in the third quarter, Edmondson completed an 8-0 run to cut the Lakers' margin to 69-67. Norris had a steal and finished with a drive down the lane for a basket, starting a 7-0 run to push the lead to 76-67.

The Redskins crept within 80-73, but Norris hit a jumper and a three-pointer -- his seventh of the game -- putting Lake Clifton ahead 83-73 with 4:05 remaining.

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