Lake Clifton bounces back, trips up No. 10 Mervo, 50-43

Tough loss to Douglass fails to throw off Lakers

Boys basketball

January 22, 2003|By Derek Toney | Derek Toney,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Herman Harried wasn't sure which Lake Clifton team would show up for yesterday's Baltimore City League boys basketball game at Mervo, the one that was handled in two losses at the Basketball Academy mixer two weekends ago or the one that nearly upended top-ranked Douglass last week.

The Lakers answered their coach's concerns with a hard-fought 50-43 win over visiting and No. 10 Mervo. After blowing a five-point lead late in regulation on Douglass' home court, No. 7 Lake Clifton was able to maintain its composure in the final quarter against its East Baltimore foe.

"It's coming along," said Harried, standing outside the Lakers' locker room. "They're getting accustomed to each other, and to me. We're still learning each other as a team, they're still getting to learn me. ... It has taken time to jell."

The victory gives Lake Clifton (9-4 overall, 2-0 league) a huge foot up in Division I with triumphs over the Mustangs and No. 2 Dunbar. The Lakers have six divisional contests remaining. Mervo (10-4), which had its nine-game winning streak broken, fell to 3-1 in Division I.

Junior guard Donta Ridley scored a game-high 19 points for the Lakers, with Parris Carter adding 10. Junior guard Chester Frazier led the Mustangs with 15, and Paul Frazier had 10.

Ridley, who missed two free throws late in regulation against Douglass, stymied the Mustangs' fourth-quarter charge yesterday. With Lake Clifton holding a 37-33 lead, Ridley followed a layup with a steal of the inbounds pass and another layup, extending the Lakers' advantage to 41-33.

"We had to put that behind us and move forward," Ridley said of the Douglass loss. "We just needed to come out and play hard."

The Mustangs got back within 48-43 with 72 seconds remaining on a jumper by Joseph Marshall. Mervo forced a turnover, but a three-pointer by Marshall rattled out.

The miss was the final salvo of a frustrating shooting performance by the Mustangs. They missed 42 of 56 shots, including several layups.

"We just couldn't hit the open shots," Mustangs coach Daryl Wade said. "It's too late to chalk this up as a learning experience. It was a poorly played game, take nothing away from Lake Clifton, we didn't show up."

Carter's two free throws with 47.7 seconds remaining closed out the game's scoring.

The Mustangs defeated Lake Clifton twice last season, including a 33-point victory in the Class 4A North regional final.

It was obvious early yesterday that neither team would be able to pull away, turning the ball over 22 times and shooting a combined 5-for-22 in the opening period. Lake Clifton took a 25-19 lead into the half.

The Lakers owned their largest lead, 37-24, after a reverse layup by Carter with 2:02 to play in the third.

"We played well and stuck to our game plan," said Harried, whose Lakers were 18-for-49 from the field. "We got out of sync, but we realized what worked for us. It was a tough game."

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