The past couple of seasons, Lake Clifton High boys’ basketball roster has been a who’s who’s of elite talent including Will Barton and Josh Selby. There are no big names on this season’s Lakers squad, but the east Baltimore school still figures to be a huge factor.
The No. 10 Lakers posted a 71-65 decision over No. 12 Forest Park in a Baltimore City non-divisional contest Tuesday afternoon. Senior forward Trae Summers scored 21 points for Lake Clifton (3-0 overall), and junior guard Aaron Parks added 17.
The Lakers led wire-to-wire to take the first big matchup in what should be a compelling Baltimore City league season. Lake Clifton has reached the city title game the past four seasons, claiming the crown in 2007 led by All-Mets Antoine Allen and Derrious Gilmore and 2008 with Will and Antonio Barton (both at University of Memphis) and Cleveland Melvin (DePaul) powering the Lakers to a 28-0 record and the Class 3A state title.
A glance at each name on this year’s roster might leave one saying “Who’s that?” Lake Clifton is excited about its new position.
“You’re not always going to have the Will Bartons or Josh Shelbys, this is what you’re going to have most of the time, and this is where you got to work,” said Lake Clifton coach Herman Harried. “You got to work with Shelbys and the Bartons, but it makes the work a little easier because they’re so talented. What I like about this group is they all work, and they’re fun to be around.”
“A lot of people in the city consider us underdogs, and we’re going to sneak up on a lot of teams,” said Lakers senior guard Leron Fisher who started alongside McDonald’s All-American Josh Selby (University of Kansas) last season. “I’m counting on my team and I know they’re counting on me.”
The lone returning starter, Fisher is the veteran of a backcourt nucleus with Parks, junior Anthony Lee and sophomore Daquan Ross. They answered the challenge in their first major test of the season Tuesday.
Trailing by as many as 12 points, Forest Park (3-1) was within a basket, 50-48, at the start of the fourth quarter on a three-pointer by sophomore Quintin Judd, who led all scorers with 26 points. Parks, a transfer from Dunbar, came up with an offensive rebound and scored, and took a pass from Ross in the corner and drilled a three-pointer, pushing Lake Clifton out to a 55-48 advantage.
It was 59-52 after Parks finished a Summers’ steal with layup. Summers, a 6-foot-4 post from Old Mill, rebounded a Forest Park miss and got the ball to Fisher, who converted a three-point play. Fisher returned the favor with a pass inside to Summers, putting the Lakers clear at 64-52 with 3 minutes, 14 seconds remaining.
“We came out with a lot of intensity,” said Parks. “We got a little flat but we brought it back up and fought for the victory.”
The Lakers swarmed Forest Park in the early minutes for an 8-0 advantage, but the Foresters stemmed the early assault to pull even at 10. Lake Clifton kept active defensively, turning five Forest Park turnovers into 10 points in a 14-2 run, capped by a steal and layup by Ross.
Judd, a 6-foot-5 swing who’s rated among the top underclassmen in the mid-Atlantic region, brought Forest Park to within 27-25, but the Lakers responded with a layup and three-pointer by Ross. Forest Park coach Greate White thought the youth of his talented squad showed in several critical moments.
“Against a smart team that is guard-savvy, they just couldn’t get over the hump,” said White, who received 13 points from Sharod Hargrove and 11 from DeAnthony McCormick.“Lake Clifton is well-coached and well-structured. It’s definitely not the Lake Clifton of old, but they’re still proven and got the engine rolling.”
A host of pictures and articles from the past several seasons are prominent in Harried’s office. Though this season’s squad is relatively unknown, Harried believes a lot of new memories will be made.
“I know the rest of the season will be ups and downs, hopefully there won’t be as many downs, but they responded to a battle today,” said Harried. “Their competitive nature and defensive effort is all I ask for, everything else will fall into place.”
CLICK RELATED VIDEOS TAB FOR HIGHLIGHTS
|No. 10 Lake Clifton 71, No. 12 Forest Park 65|
|Forest Park: Vaughan 2, Hargrove 13, Judd 26, McCormick 11, Miller 7, Waters 4. Totals: 26 7-12 65.|
|Lake Clifton: Henson 4, Fisher 12, Parks 17, Summers 21, Lee 6, Ross 7. Totals: 26 16-27 71.|
|Halftime: Milford Mill 43, Mervo 17|