Southwestern turns technical, takes region title from Lake Clifton Sabers win 25th straight, first trip to College Park

Class 4A/Boys basketball

March 08, 1997|By Derek Toney | Derek Toney,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

In what has been a magical season for Southwestern, not much comes as a surprise to the No. 1-ranked Sabers.

But no one could have predicted the turning point in yesterday's game.

The Sabers (25-0) defeated host No. 3 Lake Clifton, 64-58, to win the Class 4A North regional championship and earn their first trip the University of Maryland at College Park and the state final four for a semifinal game at 7 p.m. or 9 p.m. Thursday.

How the Sabers got there might be unique.

With 35.6 seconds left, Lake Clifton's Corsley Edwards scored on a layup to tie the score at 55 and was fouled, sparking a celebration by the Lakers.

One of those celebrating was Lakers junior forward Rodney Bass, who had been thrown out with 3: 31 remaining -- he fouled out and then attempted to go after a Southwestern fan who was taunting him.

But a couple Southwestern players saw Bass on the court and immediately notified the game officials, who assessed Lake Clifton with a technical foul because Bass could not return to the court after being ejected.

After Edwards missed the free throw that would have completed the three-point play, Southwestern junior guard Cornelius McMurray hit both foul shots from the technical to make the score 57-55. McMurray followed that with two more free throws after being fouled, giving the Sabers a 59-55 lead with 33.8 seconds left.

"As soon as he [Bass] walked on the floor, I walked up to the referee and showed him that he was there," said Dartegnon Smith, a 5-foot-8 senior. "I asked him if that was a technical foul. He looked then he asked the other official, and he called the technical."

Said Lake Clifton coach Charlie Moore: Bass "got caught up in the moment of the game. He's a young kid and is prone to make mistakes, like myself, but that wasn't why we lost."

The Lakers (18-5) still had a chance. Eric Evans hit a three-pointer, bringing the Lakers within one at 59-58 with 26 seconds left. McMurray hit one of two free throws with 19.1 seconds remaining to make it 60-58, but Smith and Earl Carr finished off the Lakers.

Smith (five steals) knocked the ball away from Evans into the hands of Carr, who was fouled by Edwards. Carr hit one of two free throws, pushing the Sabers' lead to 61-58 lead.

The Lakers had one last opportunity to force a tie, but Smith stole the ball from Damon Spells and passed up-court to Carr for a three-point play with 1.8 seconds remaining.

McMurray led Southwestern with 28 points, and Robert Gray and Carr each added 15. Evans and Michael King each scored 18 to lead Lake Clifton

In winning its 25th consecutive game, Southwestern becomes the first Baltimore team to go to College Park with an undefeated record and first from West Baltimore since Douglass in 1992-93.

Pub Date: 3/08/97

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