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SPARTANS' DEFENSE GETS JOB DONE AGAIN

Lakewood coach Dan Wright paced in front of his team's bench. The Spartans just scored and Clearwater prepared to inbound the ball and advance it upcourt.

Lakewood players pressured the inbounds pass, then approached the dribbler, stealing the ball from behind.

The Spartans live to make life miserable for opposing offenses. They were at it again Tuesday, turning up the heat with their withering man-to-man pressure to erase an early third-quarter deficit in a 65-61 victory.

"Our numbers and intensity are always big for us," Wright said. "We were able to force some turnovers and get back into the game."

Trailing 29-20 in the third quarter, the Spartans (22-1) went on a 13-2 run.

They were able to stay ahead through most of the fourth quarter thanks to clutch free-throw shooting from Dominic Lane and Reggie Reed, who combined to hit 5 of 6 shots from the line in the final two minutes.

Clearwater (19-3) was in foul trouble most of the game and was missing Luke Loucks and Okaro White, who both fouled out late in the fourth quarter.

Bob Putnam can be reached at putnam@sptimes.com or (727) 445-4169.

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