No. 8 Lakers claim 1A North championship behind Gray and Harried

by Demetrius Dillard

Special to VSN

Lake Clifton High is on its way back to the University of Maryland and the state boys basketball Final Four, thanks to a strong defensive effort and superb performances from standouts Armon Harried and Michael Gray.

Harried finished with a game-high 31 points to go with five rebounds, while Gray scored 25 points and a game-high nine assists to lead No. 8 Lake Clifton to a 89-66 decision over Randallstown in the Class 1A North Region final in east Baltimore.

The Lakers (22-4 overall) will play Prince George’s County’s Douglass, Friday at the Xfinity Center in College Park. Lake Clifton won the 2A title last season.

The St. Lo Drive school move a step closer to becoming the first program to win a state title in all four classifications, thanks to the dynamic duo of Gray and Harried.

“They’ve been carrying the load all year long. And they came through once again when it was needed,” Lake Clifton coach Herman Harried.

The Lakers overwhelmed Randallstown with a suffocating defensive effort. Lake Clifton led 18-10 after the first then ballooned it to 45-23 at halftime.

“They played together. They played hard. They played with the game plan. They beat a good team,” said Herman Harried said.

In the second half, the Rams still committed costly turnovers and were forced to take difficult shots, but still managed to match the Lakers’ intensity. Randallstown outscored Lake Clifton 19-14 in the third and was outscored 30-24 in the fourth.

Armon Harried put himself in position to score easy baskets in transition and consistently converted on free throws to help his team jump out to a big lead in the second quarter. Gray broke down Randallstown’s defense for layups inside and a few mid range jumpers to help the Lakers maintain a 20-point cushion in the second half.

Gray, a 5-foot-11 junior guard, scored 17 of his 25 points in the second half.

“When I seen the opportunity I just took it to give my team a bucket,” Gray said. “We played great. Kept playing hard, played as a team. Kept our composure.”

Junior guard Keshawn Ennals led the way for Randallstown (11-12) with 19 points, three rebounds and three assists. Forward Bryan Gambrill scored all 16 of his points in the second half.

Randallstown coach Kevin English said early foul trouble plagued his team in the first half, but he was proud of his team’s resiliency.

“It’s a great season. I mean, this is the worst regular season record that I’ve had since I’ve been coaching at Randallstown,” said English, who is in his 10th year. “These guys were able to persevere and still make it to the regional final, so it’s a great season for us as a program.”

Class 1A North Region final

No. 8 Lake Clifton 89, Randallstown 66

Randallstown – Keshawn Ennals 19, Gwynn 5, Idika 8, Hardnet 6, Bryan Gambrill 16, McWhite 2, Thompson 2, Smith 8

Lake Clifton – Harris 4, Harried 31, Tiggle 5, Washington 2, Johnson 9, Michael Gray 25, Hughes 4, Hodges 9.

Randallstown 10 13 19 24 − 66

Lake Clifton 18 27 14 30 − 89