After being called out by its coach for its performance against Dunbar last week, Lake Clifton High boys’ basketball team had a rebuttal Tuesday. The No. 9 Lakers defeated No. 12 Old Mill, 66-54, at the IAABO Board 290 Mixer at Northwestern.

Senior guard Leron Fisher led all scorers with 17 points for Lake Clifton (4-1 overall), and Aaron Parks added 15. Gavin Salmond had 12 points to lead Old Mill, and senior guard Eric Savage finished with 11.

The east Baltimore school led for all than one basket against last season’s Class 4A state finalists, erasing the memory of a 53-45 loss at longtime rival and Class 1A state champ Dunbar Dec. 21. With his team in front of him in the visitors’ locker room, Harried said to a reporter that the Lakers played “soft and scared.”

“We played with effort, it’s not all about the talent, it’s about effort,” said Harried. “There was no effort at all the other day. Today, the point of emphasis was effort.”

“We wanted to play hard and get the win,” said Fisher. “We knew what we had to do. We wanted to impress our coach.”

Fisher, the lone returning starter from last season repelled an Old Mil (4-1) charge in the second half. Trailing by 12, the Patriots closed to within 43-38 on a three-pointer by Savage. Lake Clifton went down and attacked the basket and Fisher put back a miss before getting a Daquan Ross’ miss and scoring. He added a free throw, extending Lake Clifton’s lead to 48-38.

Fisher had the final four points in a 10-2 run to start the fourth, giving the Lakers their largest advantage at 59-43. Lake Clifton received a big push defensively from 6-foot-7 reserve center Troy Anderson, who blocked three shots in about five minutes of action in the final period.

“He’s very long and he’s a work in progress, but he’s better than he was two to three months ago,” said Harried, 6-8, a former standout post at Dunbar in the 1980s. “You can’t teach length.”

aaron parks and leron fisher“He gave us what we needed,” said Parks. “He doesn’t need to score, we have other players who can do that.”

Anthony Lee (13 points) gave Lake Clifton a 24-16 with a three-pointer in the second quarter before Old Mill crept back to 30-25 with 3:03 remaining after a dunk by Salmond. The Anne Arundel County school didn’t score again until a couple of seconds remaining in the first half as Lake Clifton opened up a 37-27 halftime advantage.

It was the first of several droughts where the Patriots missed high-percentage shots. Old Mill coach Craig Smith said his team gave Lake Clifton too many opportunities.

“They converted on our sloppiness,” said Smith. “We tipped the ball and it would go straight to one of their guys and they make a layup. They were more active than us especially underneath.”

The Patriots return Wednesday evening to Northwestern to close the Board 290 Mixer against the host Wildcats at 7 p.m. Lake Clifton takes on New York’s John F. Kennedy in the afternoon at 3.

“If we play hard, nobody one can beat us,” said Fisher. “We can only hurt ourselves.”