LAKE PLACID - Lake Placid showed a lot of heart and determination by coming back from a 15-point deficit to defeat Clewiston by a score of 61-56 in nondistrict basketball on Tuesday night.
The loss dropped the Tigers to 0-3, while the win improved the Green Dragons to 1-3.
"I'm proud of the kids for playing hard and never giving up," said Lake Placid coach Dan Coomes. "We switched our defense, started making some shots and did a much better job of putting pressure on the ball.
"It's nice to get that first win of the season."
Clewiston came out on fire from behind the 3-point line in the first quarter as Jalen Rushing buried a pair of bombs and Jamaree Thomas added two more from the top of the key as the Tigers stormed out to a 20-8 lead heading to the second quarter.
Lake Placid kept its composure and steadily chipped away at the Clewiston lead as Anfernee Munnings used his exceptional quickness to drive past the Tigers to score six of his game-high 21 points to keep the Green Dragons within striking distance by a score of 31-18 at halftime.
"Clewiston was hitting some long shots in the first half," said Coomes. "I didn't think they would keep making them and I told the guys to hang in there and keep playing hard."
The Green Dragons hard work paid off early in the third quarter as the Tigers went cold from the floor and Lake Placid started to find its offensive rhythm.
Scott Colley scored eight of his 17 points and Munnings scored on several drives to the basket which got Clewiston in serious foul trouble.
Munnings made his free throws to pull the Green Dragons within 40-36 heading into the final eight minutes.
"You live by the 3-pointer and you die by the 3-pointer," Coomes said. "We got a hand in their face and when they missed the long shot it allowed us to get out and run our fastbreak and score some easy points."
Lake Placid continued its comeback in the final period as Colley hit a pair of 3-pointers from the right baseline and scored on a drive to the basket.
Clewiston lost three players to foul trouble and that allowed the Green Dragons to dominate the paint.
Kaetwan Lowe nailed a 3-pointer from the right wing to give the Green Dragons their first lead at 46-44 with 5:13 remaining.
Lake Placid built the lead to four points, but Clewiston guard Ammar Ali hit a 3-pointer and was fouled. He made the free throw for the unusual 4-point play to tie the game at 54 with 1:45 left to play.
Lowe answered with a jumper in the lane to give the Dragons the lead, but Ali scored on a layup to tie the game at 56 with 46 seconds remaining.
The pressure didn't bother Lake Placid as Colley drilled a 3-pointer from the baseline to retake the lead.
Clewiston missed a pair of shots and Lake Placid was able to make its free throws down the stretch to seal the hard-fought victory.
"Great job by our guys to fight through the early adversity we faced," said Coomes. "This is a good win, but we're not anywhere near where we want to be as a team."
Lake Placid is off until Monday when the Green Dragons host county rival Sebring.
"We've got a lot of things to work on in practice," said Coomes. "We know Sebring has some talented players and they'll present a real challenge for us."