No. 1 Western has easy time, rolling by No. 3 L. Clifton, 62-37

January 28, 1995|By Kevin Eck | Kevin Eck,Contributing Writer

The two regular-season meetings between Western and Lake Clifton for bragging rights in the city are always permeated by a big-game atmosphere.

Standing-room-only crowds comprised of vocal supporters for each school pack the gymnasiums in anticipation.

Yesterday at Western, the atmosphere and the overflow crowd were present.

Then the game began.

And once again, the highly anticipated contest quickly became a rout, as the No. 1 Doves breezed to a 62-37 victory over the No. 3 Lakers.

All-American senior forward Chanel Wright scored 19 points and grabbed nine rebounds to pace the Doves, who also got strong performances from seniors Kimberly Smith (15 points), Tesha Tinsley (14 points, nine steals, six rebounds) and Danielle Davis (11 points, eight rebounds).

Western (14-0, 9-0) continued its dominance over its top City-Wide 4A League challenger as it maintained sole possession of first place in the division.

The Doves, winners of 21 straight, had defeated the Lakers, 69-41, at Lake Clifton last month, and won all three meetings between the teams last season by a combined 41 points.

After last month's victory, Western coach Breezy Bishop said she expected a much closer contest the second time around. Bishop said yesterday that she also was concerned that the death of former Lake Clifton athletic director Mabel Wilson earlier this week would inspire the Lakers.

"Sometimes when players are grief-stricken, they can soar to a higher level and play above their potential," Bishop said. "I thought they'd come in here and blow us out of the gymnasium, but my team was up to the task and played very hard."

This one got away from the Lakers (10-2, 7-2) early.

Western, ranked 10th nationally by USA Today, came out with a swarming full-court press which forced Lake Clifton into turnovers on its first six possessions. It took the Lakers 3:35 to get off their first shot.

The Doves, meanwhile, made their first four shots and scored the game's first 10 points.

Scoring mostly off transition, Western's lead ballooned to 16-1 and was at 18-3 after one quarter.

"We wanted to be patient and run our offense like we're capable," Lake Clifton coach James Monroe said. "But I think we came out too patient. We seemed timid and we weren't playing aggressively."

Lake Clifton recovered in the second quarter and managed to pull within 24-15 on a basket by Natisha Ferguson (12 points) with 3:45 remaining.

But Western then reeled off seven straight points in a 12-4 run to end the first half with a 36-19 lead. Tinsley provided the exclamation point with a three-pointer from just inside midcourt at the buzzer.

For the half, the Doves had forced 18 turnovers, taken 19 more shots from the field (40-21) and out-rebounded the Lakers, 18-11, including 9-4 on the offensive boards.

The Doves led by 20 by the end of the third quarter, and a 10-2 spurt was part of a 25-2 run that made it 61-26 with 4:31 left.

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