Getting double digits in points from five players and holding the No. 9 Red Storm to just two free throws in the final 3:12, the No. 11 Lakers pulled out a satisfying 60-50 win.
Senior center Rodney Hawkins, who spent major minutes on the bench with foul trouble, scored a team-high 14 points; senior forward Aaron Parks scored 10 of his 12 points in the second half; and guard James Boone (11 points) hit four straight important free throws in the final two minutes in the win. Guard Lionel Green made three 3-pointers in the second quarter to finish with 11, and Daquan Ross had 10.
Lake Clifton improved to 11-2, while Edmondson fell to 9-3 this season.
"All we had to do was fight to the end," Parks said. "We weren't worried about making any changes — just stay as a team."
After Hawkins was sent to the bench with his second foul midway through the first quarter, the Red Storm went on an 8-0 run to take a 13-7 lead with 1:48 left. Hawkins returned and provided the Lakers with a lift — scoring two baskets and getting a steal under the basket to begin a 9-2 run on the way to a 28-20 halftime lead. Green's long-range precision also played big in the second quarter.
The Red Storm, who also got 13 points each from Darrius Walker and Isaiah Tripp, would tie the game twice in the third quarter before the Lakers pulled away in the fourth.
An emphatic alley-oop dunk by Hawkins — with Ross providing the pass — to give the Lakers a 57-48 lead with 1:08 to play put an exclamation point on the game.
"Edmondson is really tough," Lake Clifton coach Herman "Tree" Harried said. "We really took our defense to another level [in the fourth quarter], got some key stops and were able to get some key baskets."
Edmondson coach Darnell Dantzler was frustrated with some untimely turnovers by his Red Storm but credited Lake Clifton with doing what it took to win.
"They just played well and executed down the stretch," Dantzler said. "They did a good job staying in their sets, staying disciplined and they shot the ball well. All in all, it was a hard-fought game and our kids executed — did what I asked them to do — but Lake Clifton was the better team today."
E—Lane 15, Walker 13, Tripp 13, McClain 6, Smith 2, Hubbard 1. Totals: 16 10-12 50.
LC—Hawkins 14, Green 13, Boone 11, Parks 12, Ross 10. Totals: 19 17-21 60.
Half: LC, 28-20