For the second consecutive game, the Mervo boys basketball team had a top 10 team on the verge of defeat. And for the second straight time, the Mustangs couldn't close the deal, as No. 6 Lake Clifton escaped with a 49-46 triumph in a city non-league matchup yesterday.
Senior guards Antonio Regis and Aaron Cook each scored 13 points, and 6-foot-6 junior center Laysean Hall contributed 12 points, eight rebounds and three blocked shots for the Lakers (5-0).
Senior center Marcus Harrison had a game-high 22 points and 15 rebounds to pace the Mustangs (3-2).
Mervo had presented the area's top-ranked team, Southern-Baltimore, with a stern challenge on Friday before falling in the final minutes, 63-58.
With a 46-42 advantage with 2:07 remaining in regulation yesterday, the Mustangs' latest upset bid faded under a closing 7-0 run by Lake Clifton.
"We fell apart at the end," said Mervo first-year coach Daryl Wade. "We didn't take good shots, missed free throws. They [Lake Clifton] played the game they're supposed to."
After struggling from the perimeter most of the game, Cook drilled a pair of three-pointers in the final quarter, the latter bringing Lake Clifton within 46-45 with 1:46 left in the game. Regis then missed a baseline attempt, but Hall went up high to guide the ball into the basket and give the Lakers their first advantage since the first quarter, 47-46.
The Mustangs had two opportunities in the closing 15 seconds after Cook hit two free throws to make it 49-46, but Xavier Jackson missed a three-point attempt and Brandon Wells' desperation heave at the buzzer landed on top of the backboard.
"They had us down and we just fought back," said Lake Clifton coach Herman Harried. "We made a couple of key plays to put us in position to win and we were fortunate to make some extra plays. The game could've went either way."
The Lakers shot only 7-for-28 in the first half, including a stretch of 11 straight misses.
With Harrison powering his way to 13 points, Mervo enjoyed a 10-point halftime lead (29-19) after leading by as many as 14. But the Mustangs encountered shooting and turnover woes in the third quarter, allowing Lake Clifton to creep back into the game.