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Poise down the stretch leads No. 7 Lake Clifton boys basketball past No. 12 Patterson, 54-44

The stretches of inconsistency from the No. 7 Lake Clifton boys basketball team were understandable, considering it hadn’t played a game in 24 days and was up against another top Baltimore City team in No. 12 Patterson on Tuesday.

But when it counted most, during the home stretch of a tie game, the host Lakers were able to find their top form.

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After the Clippers clawed back from a double-digit deficit to tie the game with seven minutes left, the Lakers cranked up the defense and played poised on offense, responding with six straight points to help close out a 54-44 win.

Lake Clifton improved to 4-1 on the season while handing Patterson (4-1) its first loss.

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Defense and a balanced offense carried the home team Tuesday. Quinton Monroe led the way with 12 points, Davon Mosley and Kristopher Mitchell added 11, Jalen Connor had nine and Myles McDuffie finished with eight. Three forced turnovers led to the 6-0 spurt that gave the Lakers a 39-33 lead with 5:47 to play.

“It showed that we hadn’t played in a long time and unfortunately you have to come back and play that game [against Patterson] after a long time,” Lake Clifton coach Herman “Tree” Harried said. “But to get through that kind of game says a lot about the character of the team, the poise and how we overcame adversity after being away for a long time.”

The Lakers didn’t look like they hadn’t played in over three weeks at the start, jumping out to a 17-4 lead after Mosley spun to the basket, scored and was fouled in converting a three-point play with 17 seconds left in the first quarter.

But the Clippers, who were coming off a 66-26 win against Reginald Lewis on Monday, settled in behind senior guard John Thomas, who finished with a game-high 18 points. When Thomas hit a jumper with 2:23 to play in the third quarter, the Clippers cut the deficit to 27-26. But the Lakers took back momentum with a steal and layup from Connor with 11 seconds left to take a 33-28 advantage going into fourth quarter.

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A 3-pointer from Dawon Williams and basket from Khaijae Wilson in the first minute of the fourth quarter got the Clippers even, but the Lakers were quick to respond.

Two free throws from Mitchell regained the lead, and four straight points from Mosley – with the first basket coming off a steal – restored a 39-33 lead. McDuffie scored consecutive baskets midway through the quarter, and improved free-throw shooting helped secure the win. After making only nine of their first 21 attempts from the line, the Lakers made five of their last six in the final two minutes.

“We all work together, so when stuff gets tight, we stick to what we do and the other team can’t stop what we do,” said McDuffie, a senior guard/forward. “We know it’s going to work, so we just got to keep to what we do. It feels good to know I can trust all my teammates and I can trust myself that when we get down to it, we’re going to say poised and do what we got to do.”

After his team fell for the first time this season, Patterson coach Harry Martin didn’t hold anything back on the disappointing fourth quarter after the Clippers worked hard to get the game tied.

“We just had a lot of dumb possessions, three straight turnovers,” he said. “There’s no excuse. We got to coach them a little better and we got to execute a little better. Offensively, it was terrible and I’m not sure what we were doing out there.”

Both teams return to action at 5:15 p.m. Friday with Lake Clifton hosting Reginald Lewis and Patterson looking to bounce back at New Era.

P – Thomas 18, Williams 7, Wilson 5, Sabastro 6, Dukes 2, Epps 1, Burguess 5. Totals: 15 18-28 44

LC – Mosley 11, Mitchell 11, Hargett 3, Monroe 12, McDuffie 8, Connor 9. Totals: 20 14-27 54

Half: LC, 25-18

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