King of Hill Dunbar-Clifton to pack Morgan with 1-2 punch


How big is tomorrow's Lake Clifton-Dunbar basketball game at Morgan State?

Consider that the only event ever to outdraw the Lakers and Poets at Hill Field House has been a Bill Cosby concert.

"I think we will have another 6,000 to 8,000 there," said Lake Clifton coach Charlie Moore. "Dunbar's tough. I just hope it won't be a blowout."

Moore would not reveal his game plan after the Lakers trampled Southwestern Tuesday, 96-54. No. 1-ranked Dunbar (21-1) similarly has rolled over No. 3 Annapolis, No. 4 Southern, No. 5 Walbrook and No. 6 Mount St. Joe.

The smallest margin of victory for the Poets was 21 points, and the Poets tuned up for tomorrow's showdown with Tuesday's 118-70 swamping of Towson Catholic.

The No. 2 Lakers (13-2), meanwhile, have beaten all area teams except Southern and generally by narrower margins.

"As good as Lake Clifton played against us, I don't think they can handle Dunbar's inside power," said Southwestern coach Jim Pearson.

Even Moore admits he sometimes finds himself looking down the bench to call upon Ron Lucas or Joe Carey, former inside players for the Lakers.

"This is a different kind of Lake Clifton team," said Moore. "We have to rely on speed, togetherness and keep it simple."

The Lakers have no bona fide superstar, but Moore can run nine or 10 players in and out without suffering noticeable loss in production.

Senior Ronnie Van Hook (17 ppg) sat out Tuesday with a sore ankle, but Curtis Shepherd picked up the slack, scoring 28 points without permitting his passing game to suffer. Shepherd, who leads the area with 9.3 assists per game, got 11 more against Southwestern.

"Curtis has excellent peripheral vision and finds the open man," said Moore.

"I broke my collarbone when I was young; that's when I was able to develop my left hand," said Shepherd, explaining his crisp, ambidextrous passes. "I couldn't use my right, but I kept on playing lefthanded."

If there is a key to tomorrow's outcome, Moore figures it will be rebounding. Dunbar starts a front line of 6-foot-4 Kevin Washington, 6-6 Donta Bright and 6-5 Kevin Booth.

"Roger Battle [6-6] and Harold Smith [6-4, 240] will have to get help on the boards," said Moore. "We will have to make good decisions, run when we can, but not take bad shots."

"I'm hoping we may be a little quicker than Dunbar," said Shepherd. "We have to win first in our minds, and then we can win on the court."

"Dunbar and Lake Clifton play similar styles," said Southwestern's Pearson. "I think Dunbar will be very hard to beat at their own game. The team that beats them will have to have discipline."

"That's right," said Moore. "Play smart and keep it simple."

Actually, neither team will be hurt by tomorrow's outcome. It's a cross-division game in the MSA A Conference and does not count in divisional standings.

"But it counts for a lot on the east side of Baltimore," said Shepherd. "It's for the bragging rights. Lake Clifton and Dunbar always is a big, big game."

Perhaps even big enough to outdraw Bill Cosby.

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