COLLEGE PARK – All season, senior forward Armon Harried and junior guard Michael Gray have carried the Lake Clifton boys basketball team every way imaginable in reaching the Class 1A state semifinals.
The dynamic pair did it again against Prince George’s County’s Frederick Douglass on Friday and then when the game was tied and the details magnified in the closing seconds, help arrived.
After Harried and Gray accounted for 48 points to help get the Lakers tied with the Eagles, seniors David Harris and Jermaine Tiggle made the most of the game’s final 30 seconds.
Harris grabbed a tough offensive rebound in the tie game and, after a timeout, Tiggle drove the lane and was fouled.
He made two free throws with 21 seconds left and the Lakers buckled down on defense for one final stop. Mike Woods’ 3-point try at the buzzer was off the mark and Lake Clifton secured a thrilling 58-56 win at the Xfinity Center.
Lake Clifton, which captured the Class 2A state title last season, will take a 23-4 mark into Saturday’s 1 p.m. championship game as it tries to bring home the program’s sixth crown. The Lakers will meet Southern-Garrett – a 66-52 winner over Crisfield in Friday’s other semifinal.
“It was a battle, an expected battle. We knew Douglass would be good, they are extremely well coached and we knew they would be prepared and it was a game that was expected,” Lake Clifton coach Herman “Tree” Harried said. “We were hoping to be prepared enough to weather the storm and we did.”
Armon Harried finished with 27 points, 12 rebounds and four steals, while Gray had 21 and eight rebounds. Harried scored the Lakers first 10 points to keep them close and then Gray got on track in the second quarter. With the two on their games offensively, the Lakers had a 52-45 lead with 2:48 to play. But the Eagles (23-5) rallied behind a three-point play from Kaylen Vines and a 3-pointer from Darnell Snowden. When Vines hit a free throw with 40 seconds left, they reclaimed the lead at 56-55.
The Lakers had all the big plays the rest of the way. Harried earned his way to the line with 32 seconds left, tying the game with one make before Harris worked around bigger players to get the rebound on Harried’s miss on the second try.
Out of the timeout, the Lakers got the ball to Harried, who, trapped in the corner, found Tiggle out top. He drove the lane and was fouled with the biggest moment of his career coming next at the free throw line.
“We’ve been working on free throws all season and we’ve missed some and made some,” said Tiggles, who finished with six points and eight rebounds off the bench. “I just knew I had to make these shots for us.”
The Lakers have their biggest game of the season left to play on Saturday, but will take the same approach as the rest.
“It’s another team, another time we got to win and we just got to put it all out there,” Armon Harried said.
D – Samb 11, Vines 16, Snowden 13, Arnold 11, Woods 2, Jackson 3. Totals: 18 16-21 56