Lake Clifton subdues Walbrook, 74-69


No. 3 Lake Clifton added another chapter to its storybook season yesterday, turning back No. 8 Walbrook, 74-69, in a non-division matchup of Maryland Scholastic Association A Conference contenders at Lake Clifton.

Lake Clifton's three starting guards -- Ronnie Van Hook, Curtis Shepherd and Kevin Norris -- combined for 53 points to lead the Lakers (12-2).

Van Hook led the trio with 21, Norris had 18 and Shepherd had 14 and seven assists.

Junior forward Jermaine Porter came off the bench to lead Walbrook (9-5) with 21, and senior center Stevie Thomas had 15.

Lake Clifton, which lost four starters and most of its offense from last season, spent most of the game pulling away from Walbrook, only to see the Warriors rally each time.

The Lakers built a 22-13 first-quarter lead but made just four of 15 field goals and one of eight free throws in the second quarter, as Walbrook rallied to trail, 32-29, at the half.

"That doesn't bother me," Lakers coach Charlie Moore said. "We're young, and like I've said, who would have said we'd be 12-2 and tied for first [in Division II]? A lot of people said this would be a bad year for us."

The Lakers have been one of the area's biggest surprises, led by their guards. Yesterday, Van Hook, a 6-foot-2 senior, started quickly with nine first-quarter points, and he and Norris made the big baskets for the Lakers in the second half as they held off the Warriors.

"He's a cog," Moore said of Van Hook. "We have several other cogs. I wouldn't say he's the main cog, but he's a cog. Every game since we've been back [from the Sacramento Exchange Tournament in December], he's been getting better. He's diving on the floor for loose balls and showing leadership."

Walbrook, coming off of a victory over No. 5 Mount St. Joseph on Tuesday, made its last run late in the third quarter. Eric Herbert hit two three-pointers and Thomas made a layup with 1 minute, 44 seconds left to tie the game at 44.

The Lakers went ahead, 46-44, on a jumper by Shepherd, but Walbrook tied the game at 46 on a powerful stuff by Thomas.

But Thomas' stuff ignited the Lakers, who scored the final four points of the quarter on a layup and jumper by Shepherd, then started the final quarter with an 11-1 run to build a 61-47 lead with 4:34 left. The Warriors never seriously threatened again but did score seven of the last nine points to make it look closer.

Lake Clifton meets Southwestern in a league contest Tuesday, then faces its toughest test when it takes on top-ranked Dunbar next Friday at Dunbar.

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