Nelson's 11-point run carries Lake Clifton by Woodlawn, 50-39

`He did what we needed,' coach says of late streak in controlled-tempo game

Class 4A boys basketball

High Schools

March 06, 2003|By Jeff Seidel | Jeff Seidel,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Tavon Nelson has been one of Lake Clifton's top scorers this season. But he found himself still looking for his first point late in the third quarter of last night's game at Woodlawn.

Seeing his team clinging to a small lead, Nelson began calling for the ball more.

He then scored 11 straight points to help No. 5 Lake Clifton pull away to a hard-fought 50-39 victory over No. 20 Woodlawn in a Class 4A North regional semifinal.

Lake Clifton (19-4) advanced to tomorrow night's final against No. 7 Mervo, which beat No. 11 Walbrook last night. Mervo is the region's top seed; the Lakers are third.

The Lakers controlled the pace against Woodlawn from the start. They went to a spread offense and held the ball for long stretches while looking for good shots, with point guard Daschall Grade often dictating the tempo.

Lake Clifton can play run-and-gun or go ball-control. The Lakers have used both successfully so far in the playoffs.

"I told them we'll do whatever it takes to win, not to impress," Lake Clifton coach Herman Harried said. "We play to win."

Nelson (12 points) helped them win.

Lake Clifton held a 23-19 halftime lead and still was up by four late in the third period when Nelson scored on a driving layup. He then added a three-point play after the Warriors had sliced the lead to 31-29. Nelson next had two free throws and closed the period with a thunderous dunk.

The forward's short jumper early in the fourth period ended a nine-point run that gave the Lakers a 40-29 lead. Woodlawn never threatened again.

"I just said I had a bad first half, and I had to pick it up in the second half," Nelson said. "I demanded the ball more."

Said Harried of Nelson's evening: "He did what we needed."

Forward Paris Carter helped the Lakers stay in control in the fourth quarter. Lake Clifton set up plays for forward Carter (game-high 15 points) on several consecutive possessions, and he scored six straight points to give the Lakers a 46-33 lead.

Woodlawn stayed close until Nelson and Carter broke the game open. The Warriors began rushing a little on offense in the fourth quarter, when the Lakers took a bigger lead, but coach Eddie Green Jr. thought his team had enough chances.

"There were some scoring opportunities," Green said. "We just didn't execute. We got out of our game plan a little [in the fourth quarter]."

Keith Mallory (10 points) was the only Warrior to score in double figures. Green said that Lake Clifton's use of the slower style wasn't a big surprise. In fact, the Warriors liked it but couldn't take advantage of a style that might have suited them.

"That's what we wanted," Green said. "We didn't want to get into a running game with them. But you've got to put it into the hole, and we [didn't]."

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