Riding a nine-game winning streak, Mervo has been one of the area's best teams in the second half.
All season, Lake Clifton has been streaky. But the No. 13-ranked Lakers have begun to show signs of consistency, and yesterday they upset the host and No. 5 Mustangs, 70-58, in a Baltimore City East Division contest.
The win clinches second place in the East for the Lakers (10-5, 5-1), whose only league setback was to No. 1 Dunbar last month. Mervo's last loss came against City on Dec. 22.
Junior guard Teoine Carroll scored 20 points to lead Lake Clifton and Andre Mouzone added 17. Marcus Hatten led all scorers with 33 points for Mervo (15-3, 1-3).
Hatten, a 6-foot-2 All-Met senior guard, had 21 in the second half and had little help outside of Kevin Taylor, who had 10 points.
The Lakers received contributions from Kenny Purnell (12 points in second half), Kenneth Baker (nine) and 6-foot-7 junior center Brandon Haughton, who had 16 rebounds to go with eight points.
"We're better than what our record shows," said Lake Clifton coach Herman Harried. "Unfortunately, we go up and down at times. We can turn it on when we need to, but this is a big win for us."
Trailing by 11 midway in the second quarter, Lake Clifton closed the half with a 17-5 run to take a one-point halftime lead. It blew it open with 13 straight points early in the third quarter.
Harried decided to go with four guards and Haughton in the middle in the second quarter. With Haughton commanding the boards, helping to start transition with outlet passes, and a harassing defense, Lake Clifton showed it will have to be reckoned with when the state 4A North regional playoffs begin later this month.
Hatten tried to bring the Mustangs back, getting a steal and dunk, to close the margin to 45-36 with 1: 30 remaining in the third quarter. Hatten was 13-for-37 from the field, but the rest of the team shot 10-for-41.
"We're a finely-tuned team and when we don't get contributions from everybody, it's difficult for us to win, especially against a well-prepared team like Lake Clifton," said Mervo coach Woody Williams, whose team had 22 turnovers.
Pub Date: 2/10/99