The Lake Clifton boys basketball team is mostly quick and small, and the Lakers are well-aware there will be games when they have to scrap for everything to get a win.
Against bigger and stronger Randallstown at the International Association of Approved Basketball Officials Board 290 Memorial Mixer at Northwestern on Thursday, the Lakers faced one of those games.
Lake Clifton found a way to beat the No.12 Rams' press just enough times, hit just enough shots, grab just enough rebounds and tirelessly defend to earn a 60-53 win.
Senior guard Daquan Ross had a game-high 18 points and junior forward Tavon Coleman added 12 for the Lakers.
The Rams (4-2) cut the lead to 44-40 in the closing minute of the third quarter, but the Lakers (5-1) held on.
"That's all it was — a grind," Lake Clifton coach Herman "Tree" Harried said. "All we got is grinders, and that was a grinding game. Randallstown is a very good, tough team, and we just did the extra grinding."
With Ross scoring 12 of his points in the first half and the Rams struggling from the field and free-throw line, the Lakers were able to build a comfortable enough lead to hang on.
After Randallstown forward Chris Manning hit a jumper with 34 seconds left in the third quarter to cut the deficit to 44-40, the Lakers responded with a basket from Coleman and 3-pointer from Ross in the opening minute of the fourth quarter to restore order at 51-40.
Despite a pressing defense that kept the Lakers out of their offensive flow and stronger work on the boards, the Rams' inability to finish at the offensive end proved costly. Tommy Heard scored 18 points in the defeat.
"You got to make free throws and layups — that's the bottom line," Randallstown coach Kevin English said.
No. 4 Edmondson 71, James Hubert Blake 42: Darius Walker scored 16 points and Isaiah Tripp added 14 to power the Red Storm (6-1) past the Bengal Tigers at the Governor's Challenge in Salisbury.
Eleanor Roosevelt 85, No. 7 City 65: The Raiders built a 40-25 halftime lead that the Knights (6-1) couldn't overcome at the Old Mill Tournament.
No. 8 John Carroll 47, Douglas Freeman 45: The Patriots (12-4) shot 11-for-11 from the foul line to beat the Rebels at the Benedictine Capital City Classic in Richmond, Va.
No. 9 Arundel 71, National Collegiate Prep (D.C.) 59: Greg Gaither scored a game-high 27 points to power the Wildcats (6-1) past NCP at the Coaches vs. Cancer Tournament at Patterson.
No. 13 Poly 58, Westminster 34: John Crosby scored 14 and Darrion Stokes-Graham added 13 to lead the Engineers (6-1) past the Owls at the Governor's Challenge.
No. 15 Ben Franklin-Masonville Cove 50, Queen Anne's 27: Donta Collins and Gab Shongo each scored 12 points to lead the Bayhawks (6-2) past the Lions at the Governor's Challenge.
Chapelgate Christian Academy 67, Friendly 64: The Patriots missed the go-ahead basket with three seconds left, and Matt Frierson (17 points) made the ensuing free throws for the Yellowjackets (6-7) at the Home and Away Tournament.
Tampa Jesuit (Fla.) 62, Loyola 46: A 20-8 run in the second quarter by the Tigers (13-0) proved too much for the Dons (3-6) in the opening round of the Father George National Jesuit Christmas Classic Tournament at Georgetown Prep.
Loyola faces Canisius (N.Y.), which lost, 77-39, to JSerra Catholic (Calif.) today at 2:45 p.m.
Hoover (Ala.) 49, No. 1 Aberdeen 41: The Buccaneers, defending 6A state champions in Alabama, used six Division I recruits to shut down the Eagles (5-1) at the Title IX National Invitational Tournament in Washington.
Brionna Jones had 13 points for Aberdeen, which faces Riverdale Baptist today at 5:15 p.m.
No. 2 Archbishop Spalding 45, Neumann-Goretti (Pa.) 24: Jade Scaife scored 11 points to lead the Cavaliers (10-0) past the Saints at the Diamond State Classic in Wilmington, Del.
No. 6 Digital Harbor 39, Goose Creek (S.C.) 35: The Gators (10-1) used stall-ball tactics to stay in the game, but the Rams (5-1) prevailed at the Carolina Invitational Tournament at Bishop England in Charleston, S.C.
A'Lexus Harrison had 15 points in a game in which where one basket was scored in the third quarter.
West Springfield (Va.) 50, No. 9 River Hill 38: Vicki Rowe had 11 points, but the Hawks (6-1) were held to single-digit scoring in all but one quarter at the IAABO Christmas Tournament at Prince George's Community College.
No. 11 Milford Mill 65, Arundel 40: Quierra Murray scored a game-high 20 points for the host Millers (5-2) at the Millers Holiday Tournament.
No. 12 City 69, Brunswick 24: Trana Ford had 17 points and 17 rebounds to power the Knights (7-0) past the Railroaders at the Northwestern IAABO 290 Memorial Mixer.
City faces Kenwood today at 2:30 p.m.
No. 13 South River 62, Fallston 23: Bre Bolden scored a game-high 21 points, leading the Seahawks (6-1) past the host Cougars in the consolation round of the Vernon Brown Tournament.
Severna Park 58, C. Milton Wright 31: Rachel Vander Kolk had a game-high 23 points for the Falcons (3-4) at the Millers Holiday Tournament.
Baltimore Sun staff contributed to this article. Text TERPS to 70701 to get Baltimore Sun Terps sports text alerts