Holiday Mixer Proves Bumpy Ride For Lakers

Boys Basketball Kennedy (n.y.) 73, No. 4 Lake Clifton 68

December 30, 2009|By Glenn Graham | Glenn Graham,

For the defending Class 3A state champion Lake Clifton boys basketball team, a largely new mix of talent, the early part of the season has been a time to grow with bumps along the way.

On Wednesday, in the opening night of the second annual IAABO/290 Holiday Mixer at Northwestern High, the No. 4 Lakers were hit with one of those tough stretches against a talented Kennedy team from the Bronx, N.Y.

In the fourth quarter of a close game, Kennedy had the answers at both ends and dominated the boards, scoring the period's first seven points and hitting key free throws at the end to hand the Lakers a 73-68 loss.

Senior transfers Josh Selby (31 points) and Durand Johnson (20 points) provided much of the offense for Lake Clifton, but it wasn't enough to offset Kennedy's one-two punch of Jeff Short and Naquan Pierce, who combined to score 54 points.

Lake Clifton, without senior center Karee Watson because of the flu, fell to 3-2, while Kennedy improved to 9-0 on the season.

"I saw a team that needs to continue to grow together, keep working together and just keep maturing together. There's a lot of things we need to work on, but I can guarantee you later in the year, we'll be talking about good things," Lake Clifton coach Herman "Tree" Harried said. "We're going to get it. There was moments out there where we showed we would get it right, and it's just a matter of growing together."

Trailing 46-40 midway through the third quarter, the Lakers showed those positive signs, getting consecutive 3-pointers from Johnson followed by a 3 and 3-point play from Selby to help take a 54-53 lead going into the fourth quarter. But it was the out-of-state team that made the big shots early in the fourth quarter, grabbed the key rebounds and hit its free throws to pull out the win.

Kennedy got a driving layup from Short on the opening possession and a 3-pointer from Pierce before John Mercedes' follow with 5:55 to play provided a 60-54 lead. The Lakers got their first field goal from Selby with 4:45 left, cutting the lead to 60-57, but weren't able to pull closer.

K-Short 32, Pierce 22, Mercedes 8, Ahmed 5, McQueen 6.

LC-Shelby 31, Johnson 20, Fields 8, Fisher 2, Washington 7.

Half: LC, 37-35

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