Lake Clifton breezes past Perry Hall, sets sights on No. 1 Southern

March 02, 1994|By Rich Scherr | Rich Scherr,Special to The Sun

Just one year ago, the Lake Clifton Lakers embarked on what was supposed to be a dream procession through the Class 4A state playoffs.

Instead, just two games into their inaugural journey, the dream came to a crashing halt with a surprising loss to Prince George's County's High Point in the regional semifinals.

Last night, a year older and playoff wiser, the fifth-seeded Lakerscame back for their return engagement, and showed host and fourth-seed Perry Hall that they're not about to go home empty again.

After a sluggish start, the fourth-ranked Lakers broke open a tight game with a 15-2 second-quarter run, then cruised to a 90-61 victory in the opening round of the Class 4A North region playoffs.

"Last year is water under the bridge," said Lake Clifton coach Charlie Moore. "You can't go back and redo it. You can only look to thefuture. Today we stepped it up, and I think we executed very well at times."

With the win, Lake Clifton (16-6) advances to the regional semifinals against top-seeded and top-ranked Southern, tomorrow at 8 p.m. at UMBC Fieldhouse.

Though the Lakers already have lost to the Bulldogs three times this season, players say they're optimistic that the fourth meeting will be different.

"We have nothing to prove," said forward Reggie Frazier, who led all scorers with 23 points. "We just go out and play hard every game. As long as we play together, I think we'll win."

Perry Hall (13-5) stayed with the Lakers for the first 12 minutes, trailing 23-20 with just over four minutes left in the first half.

But after a Lake Clifton timeout, the complexion of the game changeddramatically.

Lakers guard Ronald Byrd started the flurry with a pair of layups after steals to extend the lead to seven, then Frazier got into the act with back-to-back baskets to make it 29-20.

By the time guard Shawnta Rogers (13 points) connected with center Terrance Payne (22) on a spectacular ally-oop dunk, the Lakers had extended their lead to 38-22.

"Mentally and physically, that just took it all out of my kids," saidPerry Hall coach Phil Walter. "It was the storm that just swept our team away. They're a great team."

After missing their first 13 shots of the second quarter, the Lakers began forcing backcourt turnovers and made 10 of their next 12 shots to extend their lead to 42-25 by halftime.

"Last year we got into a situation where we tried to make a lot of excuses," said Payne. "This year, we've gone through a tough season, and now we know it's time to step it up."

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