All season for the No. 1 Lake Clifton boys basketball team, it has never been a question of whether somebody could step up at an important moment.
It's more like who will step up this time for the Lakers.
Playing in front of a packed gym at No. 4 Walbrook yesterday, nearly everybody took a turn as the Lakers found positive answers at all the right times and coasted to an 88-61 win over the Warriors (18-3) to improve to 20-0 with two regular-season games remaining.
Junior forward Will Barton led the way with 24 points, senior center Melvin Cleveland had 20, senior guard Jason Sharp provided 18 and junior guard Antonio Barton supplied 15 in a balanced performance.
"They play a lot of minutes, and the key is chemistry, sharing the ball and playing to win and not for your own selfish stats," Lake Clifton coach Herman Harried said. "We're playing for the team stats, and if you can get the guys to do that with the talent that we have, we have something special."
The Lakers quieted the Walbrook crowd early by jumping out to a 25-12 lead after the first quarter - Will Barton provided nine points, and the visitors also scored 10 points off offensive rebounds. The Warriors, who got a team-high 22 points from guard Denzell Walker, got back in the game with a 10-0 run late in the first half and trailed just 46-39 after Donte Stuckey hit a three-pointer with 4:50 left in the third quarter.
Sharp responded with a three on the following possession, and the Lakers got five straight points from Antonio Barton.
"We look at these big games as heavyweight fights," said Will Barton, who played a big role defensively, limiting Walbrook standout Roscoe Smith to 13 points.
"We know that the teams we're playing are going to make a run and throw a punch at us. It's all about just standing up and not getting knocked out. Every time somebody hits us with a punch, we throw one back."