3A Boys

Lake Clifton Beats No. 9 Friendly, 75-50, in Maryland Boys' Basketball 3A Final

By Josh Barr
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, March 15, 2009

It took only a few possessions for ninth-ranked Friendly to realize its opponent in the Maryland 3A championship game was the best team the Patriots had faced all season.

While Friendly's players struggled to come close to the basket, undefeated Lake Clifton -- led by a pair of brothers who last year attended a school less than five miles from Friendly -- was scoring with ease. The Patriots never gave up, but things never improved in a 75-50 loss before 3,000 yesterday at Comcast Center.

"We got where we wanted to," Friendly Coach Rob Garner said. "We ran into a very good team."

Lake Clifton (28-0) had size in the front court, quickness in the back court and the ability to get points from all five of its starters. The Lakers didn't use much of a bench -- their starters played the entire game until Coach Herman Harried sent in reserves with 1 minute 28 seconds left -- but they didn't need one.

Junior forward Will Barton and his younger brother Antonio, a junior guard, played last season at National Christian Academy in Fort Washington but said they didn't personally know any of Friendly's players. The Patriots, though, quickly become acquainted with the pair yesterday. Will scored 14 of his game-high 20 points in the first half, while Antonio finished with 16. Forward Cleveland Melvin, a 6-foot-8 senior, added 17 points for Lake Clifton.

While impressed and calling Lake Clifton "by far" the toughest team Friendly had played all season, senior forward Bryan Brooks thought the Patriots would fare better if given another chance.

"We could beat them if we played them again because of how bad we feel now, how hard we would play," he said.

Lake Clifton needed little time to take control, making three-pointers on its first two possessions. The Lakers pushed their lead to 25-7 in the second quarter. They shot 58.3 percent from the field.

"We came out ready to play, I thought we had just as good a chance as anybody else," Garner said. "Defensively, I don't know if we matched their intensity. They came out and really hit some big shots."

Lake Clifton 75, No. 9 Friendly 50 Tough Night: Friendly guard A.J. Thomas, who averages a team-leading 19.5 points, was held scoreless in the first half and finished with eight points. Titletown, Md.: Lake Clifton's victory gave Baltimore City its second of three boys' state titles yesterday; Digital Harbor beat Pocomoke in the Maryland 1A final earlier in the day. City College beat Douglass later in the 2A final.

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