There was a significant stretch during Tuesday's game against visiting Lake Clifton when everything at both ends went just about right for City.
It began in the closing minutes of the first quarter, continued into the second and leaked into the third. The Knights stole passes, blocked shots and dominated the boards on defense. And then they shared the ball, charged to the basket and drained shots from the outside on offense.
By the time that run was over midway through the third quarter, No. 7 City had turned a tie game into an 18-point advantage, more than enough to survive a late rally and come away with a 54-38 win over No. 13 Lake Clifton in Baltimore City Division I play.
Omari George scored a game-high 18 points and Tim Bond contributed 11 points, six blocked shots, four rebounds and three steals for City. Much of the talk this week in the city is centered around Wednesday's showdown between No. 4 Edmondson at No. 3 Dunbar, but the Knights, now 10-1 and 3-0 in league play, are also serving notice.
"Coach [Daryl] Wade really stresses playing as a team, execute what we do and basically we came together as a team and we went on the court and did that," George said. "We work together, we play for each other, so when you play for each other instead of thinking individually, it picks everything up."
The Knights pulled away after the game was tied at 11 with 2:05 to play in the first quarter, and a strong sequence from Bond at the close of the quarter depicted the fine play. After Blair Davis hit a jumper to give the Knights the lead for good at 13-11, Bond turned a midcourt steal into a thunderous dunk and then had a 3-pointer roll around the rim and in on the next possession for an 18-11 lead.
Davis' basket was the start of a 26-8 run that concluded with two free throws from George with 5:52 left in the third quarter.
The Lakers (7-3, 1-2) made a push behind Stephen Brown (14 points) and Cortell Henson (12 points), closing to within 39-32 on a jumper by Henson with 31 seconds left in the third quarter. But the Knights proved to be too tough on defense and got eight fourth-quarter points from George to close out the game. Wade was particularly pleased with the Knights' strong play defensively throughout the game.
"I started to play a zone early just as a change-up, but we got relaxed. So we went into a man and I thought we played with great intensity," he said. "We were all over the place — loose balls, hands in the passing lane. We took their shooters away from the basket and out of rhythm. It was just a good team defensive effort."
Despite seeing his Lakers lose their second straight league game — they fell to Digital Harbor on Friday — Lake Clifton coach Herman "Tree" Harried is confident his team will make its mark with plenty of season left.
"I said this before — we're going to be all right," he said. "One thing we're going to do is keep working hard."
No. 7 City 54, No. 13 Lake Clifton 38
LC – Brown 14, Henson 12, Ross 9, Seward 2, Kess 1. Totals:
C – George 18, Bond 11, Williams 8, Davis 6, Ju. Grant 6, Jo. Grant 3, Butler 2. Totals: .
Half: C, 32-19.