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HomeNewsArchivesLakers Outlast Upset-Minded Ujima 67-63 for Hard-Fought Victory

Lakers Outlast Upset-Minded Ujima 67-63 for Hard-Fought Victory

July 23, 2008 — After a huge win Monday night against the Chosen Ones, the Lakers was almost tripped up by a Ujima team fighting for its playoff life Tuesday night in the Choices Basketball Association summer league.
Luckily for the Lakers, Ujima committed two costly turnovers with the game tied at 60 and 52 seconds on the clock to give the Lakers the lead and the eventual victory at 67-63.
An unusually large Tuesday night crowd came out to the St. Croix Central High gym to see three of the league's four best teams — the Hoyas, Guidance and the Lakers — in action. In the early game, the defending-champion Hoyas let everyone know they are still the team to beat by defeating a Guidance team coming off of a blow-out win against the Lakers over the weekend.
The Lakers/Ujima game was supposed to be a one-sided affair, but someone forgot to tell Ujima. They played like a team on the ropes for a playoff spot, and they gave the Lakers all they could handle and then some.
The Lakers dominated the opening period, outscoring Ujima 15-6, and it looked liked a blowout was eminent. However Ujima opened the second quarter on a 7-1 run and quickly pulled within three points at 16-13. The Lakers responded with a 12-6 run to close a low-scoring first half, leading by 9 at 28-19.
Ujima came out of the locker room on fire to start the second half. Riding the hot hand of Glen "Jungle" Phillips, they outscored the Lakers 20-9 to grab their first lead since early in the first quarter at 39-37. The Lakers responded with a 5-0 run to retake the lead at 42-39. Ujima then answered with a 5-0 run of their own to lead 44-42 at the end of three quarters.
A 9-6 start to the fourth quarter had Ujima smelling the upset with a seven-point lead at 55-48 with 4:05 left in the low-scoring, turnover-plagued game. The Lakers again responded with a 5-0 run to get to within two points at 55-53. After an exchange of baskets, Ujima's led 57-52 with 2:15 left in the game. Another 5-0 run by the Lakers put them up 60-57 with 1:35 left. A long three-pointer by Ujima's Kassim Smith knotted the game at 60 with 52 seconds on the clock.
But in the next few seconds, Ujima seemed to self-destruct. Consecutive turnovers allowed the Lakers to score five quick baskets for a five-point lead at 65-60. A late three-pointer by Ujima and two free throws by the Lakers' Jerome Nathaniel set the final margin of victory for the Lakers.
Rondel Harris led four Lakers in double figures with 17 points while grabbing 10 rebounds. "Sugar" Shane Hodge netted 14 points, and Nathaniel and Rashawn "Rooster" Williams chipped in with 12 and 11 points, respectively. For Ujima, Phillips led the way with 17 points and eight assists, Jonathan Lake netted 12 points with 11 rebounds, and Smith finished with 11 points and three blocks.
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