One team continues to head into the right direction, while another appears headed in the opposite.
In a Baltimore City 4A League opening game yesterday, No. 5 Southwestern defeated host and No. 3 Lake Clifton, 92-76.
Senior point guard Haywood Eaddy led all scorers with 24 points for Sabers (5-0). Donnie Joy and Ernie Evans each added 17 and Kevin Waters scored 16. Junior forward Reggie Frazier led the Lakers (3-2) with 20 points and Shawnta Rogers added 17.
"Any time you beat Lake Clifton is an achievement because, traditionally, it's Dunbar, Lake and Southern [Baltimore]," said Southwestern coach Terry Leverette. "But we didn't play that well. We played well enough to win."
The Sabers committed 29 turnovers yesterday, but after being tentative after breaking Lake Clifton's press numerous times in the opening half, they became aggressive and more relaxed. Up eight at halftime, Southwestern led by as many as 19 points in the final quarter.
A big reason for that was the Sabers' reserves, who contributed 29 points, led by Evans and sophomore Reginald Johnson (eight points). Lake Clifton, which had 30 turnovers, got only eight from its bench.
The closest the Lakers got 51-46after a three-point jumper by Jimmy Moore (11 points). Then the Sabers went on a 13-0 run, extending their advantage to 64-46 with 1:13 remaining in the third.
"Everybody is pleased to beat Lake Clifton, but we had a lot of turnovers," said Eaddy. "We could have done a lot better, but we got the 'W' and that's what counts."
For the past three seasons, the Sabers have been building toward earning a place among the traditional powers. In 1991-92, they went 8-11, which included a 7-0 start and a near-upset of Dunbar, which was then No. 1 in the nation. Last season, Southwestern improved to 17-6 and reached the Class 3A regional semifinals, where it lost to eventual champion Southern-Baltimore.
The Sabers figured to be a contender for the City 4A League and state Class 4A North title, along with Southern, Walbrook and Lake Clifton. Meanwhile, the Lakers are trying to figure what's going wrong.
Coach Charlie Moore is perplexed by his team's erratic performance. The Lakers handily beat Potomac, a state 3A finalist, and Largo, the defending 4A state champion, at the Function at the Junction Mixer at Coppin State last Thursday and Friday. In their last two home games, the Lakers have beaten by Southern by 15 points (81-66) and yesterday by 16.
"We could have been flat, we had a good practice yesterday," he said in his office. "After those two wins last week, I thought we were ready to roll off a streak of maybe five or six wins in a row. Now, we've got to go back to the drawing board. I'm concerned about some of the attitudes on this team."
The Lakers were in trouble early, falling behind 6-0, with guard Ronald Byrd (five points) picking up three fouls in the opening period. Lake Clifton overcame that to take a 14-12 lead late in the quarter.
But it was brief. The Sabers scored the final eight points of the quarter to take a 20-14 lead. Southwestern extended it to 34-26, before the Lakers closed to within 38-32, but had three turnovers in their final four possessions of the first half.
"We're just not together right now," said Rogers, who was held to four points in the opening half. "We need to sit down and communicate with one other because, right now, we're not doing it on the court."