Cavs end seasonPublished 8:17pm Saturday, February 9, 2013
The eighth-seeded Lakeland Cavaliers fell to top-seeded Great Bridge 70-57 in the first round of the Southeastern District tournament on Friday at Great Bridge High School. The loss, however, could not outshine the growth that Lakeland’s basketball program exhibited this season.
“I think we ended it on a positive note,” Lakeland first-year head coach Clint Wright said. “Although we didn’t score the most points, we were down by as many as 28 points at one time and got back within nine with about three minutes remaining.”
They got back into the game in a manner similar to the way they won against Oscar Smith the night before — “A very savvy man-to-man defense,” Wright said.
He said Great Bridge became uncharacteristically loose and committed a few turnovers, which the Cavs were able to capitalize on. But the Wildcats eventually reasserted themselves and restored the gap on the scoreboard.
Junior guard Markese Wright, who had come up big as a defender on Thursday for Lakeland, was big on the other side of the court on Friday, leading his team with 20 points off the bench.
“One of the things that you can actually smile about is that he’ll be returning next year,” Wright said.
Two freshman who have been instrumental for Lakeland all year also finished the season with noteworthy performances; forwards Deonta Knight and Jaquan Yulee each had seven points and seven rebounds apiece.
The varsity team will have seven returning starters and will potentially be bringing up five or six promising players from the junior varsity team.
“I just felt that a foundation now has been laid and it’s now time to build upon it,” Wright said.
He looks forward to developing things like court awareness and trust this summer that will make
next year’s team all the stronger.
But while he looks forward to the future, Wright also made a point of acknowledging the seniors who helped guide the Cavaliers’ to their first playoff berth since 2010 and played their last high school game on Friday.
“I thank the seniors for allowing me to mentor and to coach them in such a short period of time,” Wright said. “I intentionally ended the game with my seniors on the floor,” he said.