COLLEGE PARK - Oxon Hill used balanced scoring, created points from turnovers with pressure defense, and scored the first 12 points of the final period of its runaway, 71-58 victory over fourth-ranked Lake Clifton in last night's Class 4A state semifinal at Comcast Center.
DeMario Anderson (16 points), Frank Gerald (14), Carlton Williams (13), Chris Pugh (11) and Rashuad Nixon (10) led the Clippers (21-3), who built an 18-point margin at 53-35 in the fourth period.
Oxon Hill earned a berth in tomorrow's 8 p.m. title game against Magruder (22-3) of Montgomery County. Magruder defeated 10th-ranked Glen Burnie (19-6) of Anne Arundel County, 67-63.
The victory ended a 12-game winning streak by the Lakers (20-5) and avenged a buzzer- beating title-game loss to Lake Clifton (20-5) in 1999. That setback had come a year after Oxon Hill's five-overtime loss to Gaithersburg of Montgomery County, and a year prior to the Clippers state championship win in 2000.
Last night's action began quickly, with Donta Ridley scoring 10 of the Lakers' first 12 points as they built 8-2 and 10-6 leads. Ridley also had four rebounds and a steal in the period.
But the Clippers mounted a 13-2 run to take a 19-14 lead into the second quarter. Oxon Hill first went ahead 15-12 with 1:42 left in the period on Robert Robinson's three-point play. Six of the Clippers' points came off steals as they used a press to disrupt Lakers ball-handlers.
Ranked third in the Washington area, Oxon Hill entered the game with a perceived advantage, having played its home games on the college-size floor of the Run N' Shoot Fitness Center in District Heights while their school gymnasium is being renovated.
But any extra stamina wasn't evident in the second period, as the Lakers, who got seven second-quarter rebounds from Tavon Nelson, tied the score at 21 three minutes before halftime on a three-pointer by Damian Wilder and a layup off a steal by Paris Carter.
Down four after consecutive baskets by Rashaud Nixon, Lake Clifton closed within 25-24 at the intermission on a Carter three-pointer. Nelson scored the third period's first basket, giving the Lakers a 26-25 lead, but an 8-0 Oxon Hill run started the runaway.