In 1993-94, a senior-laden Southern-B squad had four victories over Lake Clifton en route to the state 4A championship and the nation's No. 2 ranking.
Last season, it was Lake Clifton with six solid seniors, dethroning a young Bulldog team in the region finals for its third victory of the season over them, and the Lakers went on to claim the 4A state title. The roles were again switched as the two met in their only meeting of the season yesterday.
And the trend continued as the top-ranked and host Bulldogs handled the No. 7 Lakers, 75-55, in a Baltimore City East League game.
Brian Kennedy led Southern (12-2, 2-0), ranked No. 13 in this week's USA Today Super 25, with 20 points. Dedric Galloway added 16 and John Hemsley scored 14. Kevin Braswell led Lake Clifton (12-2, 3-2) with 13 points and Michael King scored 10.
Coming off last week's four-game schedule, including a third-place finish in the Northwest bracket at the Charm City Classic, losing only to national No. 1 St. Anthony of New Jersey, Southern had no problem in its first true local challenge this season.
The Bulldogs never trailed yesterday, leading 36-26 by halftime. They used a 24-8 run to open the second half to build a 60-34 lead with 6:16 left.
"We played really lackadaisical in the first half," said Southern coach Meredith Smith. "In the second half, I thought we really stepped it up on the defensive end, as well as offensively."
Most of the damage came from the Southern senior starting lineup of Kennedy, Galloway (five rebounds), Hemsley (nine rebounds), Kofi Pointer (nine, eight points) and Marlon Wise (10 points, 10 rebounds, seven assists).
But it was Kennedy, the least heralded of the starters, leading the way as he made good on Southern's many second shot opportunities.
Kennedy, a 6-foot-3 forward, scored three easy baskets in the paint during a 13-0 first-quarter run for the Bulldogs, who pulled out to a 15-2 advantage.
The Lakers were within 11 at 41-30 with 5:14 left in the third quarter when Kennedy went in for a layup, then later crashed the boards to follow a miss by Wise, part of an 8-0 run.
"I'm like the garbage man," said Kennedy. "Everybody knows about Johnny and Dedric, but we're a team and I like being a team player."
Southern out-rebounded the Lakers, 36-25, mostly on the offensive side.
"They are a good ballclub and beat us on the glass," said Lakers coach Charlie Moore, who has eight underclassmen on his roster. "When you give a team second, third, fourth and fifth shots at the basket, you're not going to win."