The Lake Clifton boys basketball team prides itself on successfully handling adversity.
Playing third-ranked and undefeated Patterson on Friday, the No. 12 Lakers had to overcome an early deficit, withstand a significant push from the home team in the opening minutes of the second half, and finish the last five minutes without their senior leader, point guard Elijah Kess, who fouled out.
With a handful of players stepping up at important times, led by senior guard Stephon Brown's 22 points, the Lakers came away with a resilient, 70-64 win over Patterson.
Junior forward Derrick Green added 17 points, senior forward Montague Wright finished with 14 points and junior forward Joshua Parks provided seven points and 11 rebounds as the Lakers improved to 10-1 overall and 3-1 in Baltimore City's Division 1. Patterson, led by senior guard Dereck Oliver's 18 points, falls to 12-1 and 3-1 in league play.
"We've learned how to stick together and stay together as one, and we get through the adversity together," said Brown, whose 11 points in the closing minutes of the first quarter helped the Lakers dig out of a 14-7 hole. "In practice, all the hard work helps us in games, so we're used to the pressure."
Trailing 30-29, the Lakers closed out the second quarter on a 14-2 run — Brown and Wright accounting for 11 of the points — to claim a 43-32 halftime lead.
After the Clippers got a 3-pointer from Tyquan Pointer to start the third quarter and went on to cut the lead to 45-38, Green answered with a 3-pointer to help the Lakers maintain a double-digit lead into the fourth quarter.
After Kess (five points) fouled out with 5:38 to play, the Clippers tried to rally, but Brown had the final answer.
After Patterson's Dawan Bass had a steal and lay-in to get the Clippers within 61-57 with 2:19 to play, Brown answered with a reverse layup five seconds later and made all four of this free throws as the Lakers made 7 of 8 from that point on to secure the win.
"We're trying to base things on a group effort and not an individual effort," Lake Clifton coach Herman "Tree" Harried said. "Today was a group effort. Everybody played various roles in this win, and that's why they call it a team game."
Dereck Oliver scored 18 points to lead Patterson, which also got 17 points from Bass and 16 points from senior guard Rysheed Corbin.
No. 12 Lake Clifton 70, No. 3 Patterson 64
LC – Green 17, Parks 7, Kess 5, Winder 4, Brown 22, Wright 14, Howard 1. Totals: 20 26-38 70
P -- Bass 17, Oliver 18, Corbin 16, Atkins 5, Pointer 3, Brooks 5. Totals: 21 16-23 64.
Half: LC, 43-32