Edmondson senior guard Demetrius Hoskins had been preparing to take on Lake Clifton for some time. He needed no extra incentive after missing a crucial free throw in a two-point loss to the Lakers during the 2015 Class 1A South regional final.
"I was at the line and it felt it good, but it just rimmed out," Hoskins recalled. "It made me work so much harder over the summer. That's why it's showing out on the court."
Hoskins, one of the team's leading scorers, got his first dose of redemption on Jan. 8, when Edmondson beat then-No. 3 Lake Clifton at home. However, to complete the season sweep, he needed to convert at the free throw line Friday night.
The visiting Red Storm pulled away after leading by two at halftime and Hoskins hit five second-half free throws to propel his team to the 56-47 road victory over the No. 7 Lakers (10-4).
It was a win almost a year in the making for Hoskins and his team.
"It feels good because of last year, when we lost," he said. "To come back here and win, it's the best feeling."
Edmondson coach Darnell Dantzler downplayed the meaning of the game, but said he knew last year's loss affected his team.
"Kids are going to be kids. Demetrius missed a couple free throws against Lake Clifton last year and it stuck with him all summer," Dantzler said. "It's personal with the kids, but it's not personal with me."
Neither team could grab momentum in the first half. They traded turnovers and fouls throughout the first two quarters, which included four lead changes, but Edmondson went to the break with the 22-20 lead.
Edmondson's Dontaz Dean and Lake Clifton's Shauntaze Drake provided much of the first-half scoring for their respective teams. Drake scored 10 of his 16 points and Dean dropped seven of his 12 points during the period.
A battle of the boards broke out in the second half, with the 6-foot-4 Hoskins and the 6--8 Desmond Brown outworking the shorter Lake Clifton forwards. Brown, who finished with 12 points, tipped in two Hoskins shots in the third quarter to help give Edmondson the 34-30 lead going into the fourth.
The Red Storm's pressure down low broke the game open in the fourth quarter. With a little more than five minutes remaining, Hoskins drove into the paint on two consecutive possessions, scoring three points to push the lead to 41-33.
Dean hit a decisive 3-pointer with less than three minutes remaining to give Edmondson a 48-38 lead. Hoskins then hit four consecutive free throws to help seal the upset victory in front of a large crowd at Lake Clifton.
It was the second loss in as many days for the Lakers and coach Herman Harried. He said his team did not match Edmondson's intensity.
"We were very soft. The answer to the whole thing is that we're soft," Harried said. "That starts with yourself. You have to check yourself."
Edmondson 56, 7 Lake Clifton 47
E—Morton 8, Dean 12, Rose 3, Bowie 10, Brown 12, Hoskins 9, Duckett 2. Totals: 17 15-20 56.
LC—Thompson 5, Drake 16, Barney 4, Brown 9, Carter 5, Lucas 8. Totals: 13 10-14 47. Half: Edmondson, 22-20