Lake Clifton recovers to win, 65-63 4A BOYS BASKETBALL

March 12, 1995|By Derek Toney | Derek Toney,Contributing Writer

COLLEGE PARK -- Lake Clifton has had to wait in the background for the past three seasons, while Dunbar and Southern-Balto. earned national and state accolades.

Some thought it failed to meet expectations. Others thought it was a matter of experience and time.

The moment arrived for Lake Clifton last night at the University of Maryland in the grandest fashion.

Trailing by four with 1:12 remaining Lake Clifton scored eight of the game's last 10 points to pull out a 65-63 victory over Springbrook of Montgomery County to win the state 4A title before an estimated crowd of over 4,000 at Cole Field House.

Shawnta Rogers scored 26 points to lead Lake Clifton (23-1), ranked No. 13 by USA Today. Guy Butler had 15 points and 14 rebounds. Tyrian Ridges led Springbrook (21-4), ranked No. 2 by the Washington Post with 18 points.

In winning its first state championship, Lake Clifton joined Dunbar, which defeated Oakland Mills for the state 2A title, as champions, giving Baltimore City schools six state titlists in three years.

But Lake Clifton's was definitely the most improbable as Butler's three-point play with 4.5 seconds remaining gave the Lakers only their third and final lead.

In the first half, Lake Clifton had trailed by as many as 14 points.

"We had come too far since Nov. 15 to simply quit," said Lake Clifton coach Charlie Moore.

"We had too much Eastside pride. Like it has been all season. It might not be pretty, but get it done."

With 23 seconds left, Ridges gave the Blue Devils a 63-62 lead with a short jumper in the lane. The Lakers got the ball past half-court and called timeout with 13.7 seconds to play.

When play resumed, Lake Clifton looked for Rogers around the right perimeter for the game winner but he was double-teamed. He passed to Henry Hurst in the lane, who found Butler under the basket for the layup and was fouled by Joel Salvi.

Butler converted the free throw, but Springbrook still had time. The ball was inbounded to Ridges, who dribbled the ball behind his back as he was double-teamed but his attempt fell short.

"I wasn't concerned about a comeback," said Springbrook coach Bob Cliento, whose team lost in the 4A finals for the second straight year.

"I thought we had control of the game, but they made some big plays down the stretch and they didn't."

Two of the biggest came from Rogers who single-handledly gave Lake Clifton its first lead since early in the first quarter.

Trailing 61-57, Rogers hit a jumper off the glass and was fouled. His free throw closed the margin to 61-60.

On the ensuing inbounds play, Rogers stole the ball in the paint and hit an off-balance shot and was fouled by Salvi with 38 seconds left. Rogers completed the three-point play giving Lake Clifton a 62-61 lead.

"We have been fighting all season long to get here," said Rogers. "We weren't going to let it pass."

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