Southern nails Lakers again

March 05, 1994|By Derek Toney | Derek Toney,Contributing Writer

Not even a fourth time was the charm for Lake Clifton.

For most of its game with No. 1 Southern-Baltimore last night, the No. 4 Lakers appeared ready to pull off the upset. Then, in a flash, it turned into a blowout.

Down by as many as 11 points, Southern, ranked No. 4 by USA Today, seized control in the fourth quarter and defeated Lake Clifton, 81-63, in a Class 4A North Region semifinal game at UMBC.

Dante Williams and Damon Cason each scored 20 points for Southern. Alphonso Hawes added 16 and Kevin Simpson had 12. Shawnta Rogers led all scorers for Lake Clifton (16-7) with 24 points.

Tonight at 7 at UMBC, the Bulldogs (20-1) will meet No. 7 Southwestern, the third-seed, for the region championship and a trip to Cole Field House for the Class 4A final four next week.

It will be the third meeting between Southern and Southwestern. On Feb. 1, Southwestern upset the Bulldogs, 72-71. Two weeks later, Southern avenged that loss with a 83-74 victory at Southern.

Last night's game was the fourth meeting between Southern and Lake Clifton. The Bulldogs won the previous meetings, 81-66 on Dec. 11, 75-69 on Jan. 25 and 78-70 on Feb. 15.

But unlike the last meeting when a short-handed Lake Clifton played the Bulldogs tough before succumbing, it appeared the Lakers had control going into the final quarter with a 44-43 lead.

With 7:37 remaining, Rogers' two free throws gave the Lakers a 46-45 lead, then everything began to fall apart for Lake Clifton.

"We began rushing our shots," said Rogers. "We had some bad calls, but we didn't execute down the stretch."

A three-pointer by Hawes and a basket by Williams gave the Bulldogs a 50-46 lead. Lake Clifton closed to within 52-50 on a basket by Reggie Frazier.

But that would be the last highlight for Lake Clifton. Two free throws by Williams were followed by four points from Cason, giving the Bulldogs a 58-50 lead with under four minutes left.

"I thought we were a little flat and that concerned me," said Southern coach Meredith Smith. "We had to turn it up to playoff intensity, which we tried to stress in the second half."

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