Lake Clifton boys’ basketball team wears t-shirts saying “Lakers Basketball never sleeps,” during pre-game warmups. With three losses in its last four decisions, the Lakers looked like they were in a coma.
They woke up Friday evening. No. 18 Lake Clifton outlasted top-ranked and defending champ Dunbar, 56-47, in a Baltimore City Division I contest in front of a capacity audience on St. Lo Drive.
Senior forward Cortell Henson scored 26 points and pulled down 13 rebounds for Lake Clifton (12-7 overall, 5-3 Division I) and senior point guard Daquan Ross finished with 17. Senior guard Kamau Stokes had 22 points for Dunbar (15-2, 6-1 Division I).
The Lakers went on a closing 11-2 run to claim victory in the rivalry that has defined east Baltimore basketball for decades. It’s a major confidence boost for Lake Clifton, which lost twice to Edmondson last week before suffering one its worst losses in several seasons in a 73-46 decision to Prince George’s County powerhouse Eleanor Roosevelt at the Basketball Academy at Morgan State University.
“They [Dunbar] are very tough and well coached team and for us to get a quality like this shows us that we haven’t given up,” said Lake Clifton coach Herman “Tree” Harried. “We showed a lot of progress tonight.”
The defending state Class 2A champ Lakers matched reigning 1A champ Dunbar with big plays in the second half. It was senior duo of Ross and Henson who put the Poets down on the mat.
Ross converted a three-point play, giving the Lakers a 48-45 advantage with 1 minute, 51 seconds remaining in regulation. Lake Clifton trapped Stokes in the left corner and forced him into a turnover.
The Lakers did the rest from the free throw line (eight of 10), earning their first victory over the Orleans Street school since 2010.
“We really on defense, especially when our offense is struggling,” said Ross. “This was a big win because we had been struggling for the last couple of games.”
The Lakers were a different team Friday, building an early 13-4 lead with Henson nailing several well defended shots in the paint. Lake Clifton led 27-19 at halftime, but Dunbar stormed back in the second half.
With Stokes scoring 13, the Poets went on a 16-6 run to claim the lead. The teams traded the lead three times in the fourth quarter with Dunbar taking a 45-43 lead with 3:14 left after a layup by Trevis Buchanon.
Lake Clifton started its winning stand. Henson converted a layup from the right of the paint and Ross buried a fade-away jumper and was fouled.
“Those two guys [Ross and Henson] have really carried the load this season and they do an incredible job of leading the other guys on the basketball court,” said Harried.
“This builds a lot of confidence, we came out and played hard and we just made plays down the stretch,” said Henson. We work hard and we never let up.”
Despite the loss- the first locally for Dunbar-the Poets remained in position for a spot in the city title game in a couple of weeks at Morgan State University. Poets coach Diego Jones knew Lake Clifton would be ready Friday for the annual east Baltimore war.
“This is a long time rivalry and it always tough, we didn’t come out tonight and play the way we normally play and that’s as a team,” said Jones, whose team meets No. 3 John Carroll School at the Maryland Challenge at Coolidge (D.C.) Saturday afternoon. “Too many turnovers and too many mistakes and our offense just didn’t flow.”
No. 18 Lake Clifton 56, No. 1 Dunbar 47
Dunbar - Gibson 2, Stokes 22, Brown 4, Hampton 2, Miles 7, B. Smith 3, Buchanon 4. Wright 3.
Lake Clifton - Kees 3, Winder 6, Seward 2, Henson 26, Ross 17. Jackson 2.
Dunbar 4 15 20 8 – 47
Lake Clifton 15 12 12 17 – 56
Last Updated (Sunday, 03 February 2013 06:20)