Cavs drop game in KF tourney

Published 10:00pm Thursday, December 27, 2012

By Matthew Hatfield

Correspondent

Their first game after the Christmas holidays did not turn out the way the Lakeland Cavaliers had hoped, as they were trying to snap a five-game losing streak that put them below the .500 mark following a terrific 4-0 start under first-year head coach Clint Wright.

Lakeland freshman guard Jaquan Yulee goes up for two during the Cavalier's 83-57 loss to Woodside in the each team's first game of the second annual Bulldog Christmas Tournament on Thursday.

Instead, the Cavs were on their heels from the get go as they trailed 28-9 after one quarter of play and fell 83-57 to Woodside in the second annual Bulldogs Christmas Tournament at King’s Fork High School.

“Woodside limited the number of turnovers that they had, and we increased the number of turnovers that we had,” Wright said. “We got away from what we really wanted to do, which was be patient. I thought at one time we were really impatient and that hurt us greatly.”

Every time Lakeland appeared to be making a run to get the deficit down under 20 or even within single-digits, Woodside answered. Lakeland went on an 11-0 scoring run in the second period, sparked by sophomore Kenya Lantham, a player Wright is high on and believes has a bright future.

“He’s going to be a great sophomore contributor for us this year,” Wright went on to say. “He plays a real strong point guard. He just needs game experience like a lot of our guys.”

Also scoring during that run for Lakeland were Dexter Davis and Antonio Jefferson, a member of the school’s football team that made the playoffs. The visiting Wolverines from Newport News would close the second quarter on a mighty strong spurt of their own, outscoring the Cavs 15-2 over the last 3:55 to claim a 46-22 advantage at the half.

What didn’t help matters for Lakeland was the fact they were without one of their top players in freshman power forward Deonta Knight, who missed the game for disciplinary reasons, according to the coaching staff.

“We hold these players very accountable for some of the things that take place on this ball club, and that’s the way I have to establish things,” Wright noted. “We have to set a foundation of what we want, and most importantly we as coaches, we’re going to hold our players accountable. There were some things that have taken place where players weren’t accountable, and they’re dealing with that at this time.”

Lakeland, which had 10 turnovers in the first half leading to several fast-break buckets for Woodside, never got any closer than 17 down in the second half. The Cavs shot just 6-of-11 from the foul line and 3-for-9 from three-point range.

Woodside got 32 points from freshman sensation Chris Orlina and 24 points from guard Trevor Lyons, who is committed to play his college basketball at Air Force.

To lead Lakeland, freshman Jaquan Yulee had 16 points. Davis added 13 points, while Lantham chipped in 10 and Jefferson supplied nine.

Although Lakeland is in a funk after having dropped six in a row, Wright isn’t discouraged and expected the team might encounter some bumps along the road to turning things around.

“It’s typical for a young team and also a team with a different philosophy. We’ve just got to keep plugging away,” Wright remarked.

“There are a lot of different things happening with this team this year compared to last year, so they’ve got to adjust and adapt to what we’re asking out of them. What we’re going through now you’d love to go through in a summer league or fall league, and now we’re going through it when it really counts. I’m still optimistic and our goals are still attainable. We’ve got a lot of work to do and the players have to be committed.”

Lakeland (4-6) will play Salem (4-6) in Friday’s holiday tournament action.

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