Boys Basketball: SC falls short in state semis

SC's Gavin McTavish looks to pass in front of Lake Clifton's Rodney Hawkins on Friday.
SC's Gavin McTavish looks to pass in front of Lake Clifton's Rodney Hawkins on Friday. (DAVE MUNCH/STAFF PHOTO , Carroll County Times)

COLLEGE PARK - Unable to consistently convert against an aggressive Lake Clifton defense, while at the same time dealing with a Lakers team that held the ball for extensive amounts of time on the other end of the floor, South Carroll fell 46-34 in the Class 2A state semifinals Friday night at University of Maryland's Comcast Center.

Leading 14-11 after the first quarter, the Lakers, in an attempt to get the Cavaliers (21-5) out of their zone defnse which had disrupted their offense for much of the opening part of the game, had point guard Daquan Ross stand at the top of the key, holding the ball, just waiting for South Carroll to switch out of the zone and push up.

It never happened, and it wasn't until all but 20 seconds had elapsed in the quarter before Lake Clifton finally made a move toward the basket.

The Lakers turned the ball over and Cavaliers forward Gavin McTavish hit a 3-pointer in transition to tie the game at 14-14 heading into the half.

The two teams went back and forth in the third quarter before Lake Clifton once again began to hold the ball to begin the fourth quarter. South Carroll eventually started to push up, compiling fouls in the process, and the Lakers were near perfect at the free-throw line, where they spent the majority of the final quarter.

The Cavaliers, meanwhile, were just 3-of-12 during the quarter with five turnovers, unable to trim their deficit to any less than five following Aaron Parks' free throw for Lake Clifton to begin the quarter.

"It was a little bit different," South Carroll coach Doug Goff said of Lake Clifton's decision to hold the ball for extensive amounts of time, including for nearly the entire second quarter.

He added, "I was a little shocked. I wasn't expecting them to do that that early."

Lake Clifton coach Herman Harried was defensive of the strategy after the game, noting that it was far from the first time he had turned to holding the ball on offense, although he acknowledged that the second quarter Friday represented the longest single period of time that any of his teams had ever done it for.

"We play to win, and not to impress people," Harried said. "If the score was 2-1 Lake Clifton, as long as it was 2-1 Lake Clifton, that's all we care about."

He added, "South Carroll plays great defense, and it was hard to get them out of their [zone]. But once we got up, they had to come out and play some because I would've held the ball on them for another seven minutes."

The Cavaliers led 17-16 early in the third quarter, scoring on their first two possessions of the quarter, before the Lakers went on 6-0 run to take a 22-17 advantage.

South Carroll responded with a free throw from McTavish and a layup from Tyler Alcid, but Lake Clifton scored four of the final six points of the quarter from there to take a 26-22 advantage into the fourth, which it began on another 6-0 run to extend its lead to 31-22.

The Lakers led by no less than nine the rest of the way, converting 13 of their 14 free throws that followed that run.

James Boone led Lake Clifton with 13 points. He was joined in double-figures by both Daquan Ross (10 points) and Cortell Henson (10).

The Lakers, who improved to 23-3, advance to face Largo in Saturday's Class 2A final.

McTavish led the Cavaliers with 16 points, but was one of just four South Carroll players to score Friday night.

Nonetheless, Cavaliers senior Dan Mullen expressed pride in the season South Carroll had, which included its third regional championship in the last four years.

"It was a good year," Mullen said. "We lost some key guys from last season, but we had guys stepped in, and I think we worked well together, jelled as a team, worked hard and made a nice run.

"Unfortunately things didn't go our way, but we've still got to be very proud of our season."

Lake Clifton (46): James Boone 13, Daquan Ross 10, Cortell Henson 10, Lionel Greene 8, Aaron Parks 5.

South Carroll (34): Gavin McTavish 16, Ryan Tate 8, Tyler Alcid 6, Dan Mullen 4.

Halftime: Tied, 14-14.