Lake Clifton, Bass swamp Patterson Forward nets 22

Lakers breeze to 87-69 victory

Boys basketball

January 07, 1998|By Derek Toney | Derek Toney,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

As the lone returning starter from last season for Lake Clifton, Rodney Bass has found the first few weeks of the season a period of adjustment with a new coach and heightened expectations.

It has sometimes been a slow and difficult process for the 6-foot-5 senior forward, but it's one that is starting to yield results. Bass scored a season-high 22 points yesterday in helping No. 9 Lake Clifton to an 87-69 victory over visiting Patterson in a City East Division game.

Junior forward Kevin Smith led the Lakers (4-3, 2-1) with 28 points and Joe Able contributed 21. Damian Richburg and Nathaniel Mercer each scored 18 to lead Patterson (4-2, 0-1).

Smith, along with Bass, have been expected by new coach Herman Harried to play big roles on an inexperienced team. While Smith has excelled in the first six games, averaging more than 25 points a game, Bass has been up and down.

"It's a whole new team," said Bass. "It's just a matter of getting familiar with my new teammates, but we got it together now."

Bass did most of his damage in the first and third quarters, scoring nine points in each session as the Lakers pulled away in the third, building a 20-point margin.

Lake Clifton led 48-27 at halftime before Patterson scored 14 of the first 16 points of the second half to pull to within 50-41 with 4: 09 remaining in the third quarter.

Bass then sparked a 9-2 run by the Lakers, scoring five straight points including a dunk, helping his team build a 59-43 cushion.

"I don't need him to score 20 to 25 points a game, just play to his capabilities," said Harried. "He's relaxed a bit more, and he's letting the game come to him. He didn't force a lot of things and took what came to him."

And a lot of things did come to Bass, who shot 9-for-16 from the field on short jumpers and a variety of aggressive moves. He also pulled down seven rebounds.

Bass had the Lakers off and running at 18-4 in the first quarter after a layup, part of a 16-2 run. The Clippers responded with a 17-3 surge to pull even at 21 early in the second quarter.

Smith and Able then took over for Lake Clifton, combining to score all the points during a 16-0 run to secure a 37-21 lead. The twosome scored 25 of Lake Clifton's 27 second-quarter points.

"There have been ups and downs," Bass said. "But as long as we work hard in practice, there shouldn't be any more downs."

Pub Date: 1/07/98

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