KFHS summer league heats upPublished 9:27pm Wednesday, June 19, 2013
By Matthew Hatfield
Suffolk was the place to be for basketball fans on Monday night as the King’s Fork Summer League opened with each of the city’s public high schools in action against teams from around the Hampton Roads area.
Fresh off a 5-1 weekend at the Boo Williams Team Camp in Hampton, Nansemond River played its seventh game in three days and prevailed over one of its Southeastern District counterparts for many years, the Deep Creek Hornets, by a score of 49-32.
Meanwhile, Lakeland and King’s Fork both came up short in their summer-league openers, with the Cavaliers falling to the Menchville Monarchs 38-33, and the Bulldogs getting bested 58-36 by a Maury Commodores squad loaded with multiple Division I college basketball prospects.
Keying the way for Nansemond River were returnees Devon Oakley and Daniel Wallace, both of whom will be seniors next season. Oakley finished with 14 points, including a pair of three-pointers. Wallace, a center who measures almost 6-foot-8, chipped in 12 points and was too big inside for a much smaller Deep Creek team that jumped out to a 14-13 half-time lead.
To start the second half, the Warriors went on a 10-2 spurt and expanded their lead even further on a three-pointer from point guard Khalil Carroll, another returning starter who’ll be a senior.
A scary moment for Nansemond River that had some of their players and coaches holding their breath came on an alley-oop attempt in which swingman Scott Spencer came down awkwardly on his elbow, leaving the game for good. Spencer, who is being recruited by Old Dominion, Virginia Commonwealth, Hampton and Norfolk State universities, among others, should be back on the court sometime later in the week.
Even in defeat, both Lakeland and King’s Fork showed plenty of promise. The two rivals had squared off the day before in the semifinals of the Future League Playoffs in Hampton, where Lakeland was able to pull out a 52-41 victory before losing 59-51 to Green Run in the championship.
Lakeland held tough in the early going against Menchville, never allowing the Monarchs to build their lead above six points. On four separate occasions, they tied the score. Forward Marche’ Everett was the game’s top scorer with 14 points, scoring on an array of shots and banking in a couple from beyond the foul line. Jaquan Yulee started and yanked down several rebounds.
Rising sophomore forward Deonte Knight was steady as usual, able to get to the free-throw line for stretches and showing that he’s expanded his game away from the basket. The Cavs had eight different players lead them in scoring last season, and they are counting on Knight to be their primary threat offensively. Junior Kenya Lantham handled the point guard duties most of the night and was a steady decision maker who got the team into its offense.
A slow start from King’s Fork was expected, given the fact the Bulldogs graduated senior starters in Rod Parrett, Akanni White, Byron Taylor, Jacorey Smith and Donte Ralph. One of the bright spots for King’s Fork in its opening-game loss was guard Deshaun Wethington, who turned heads on the basketball court coming off the bench and on the football field last year as a freshman running back.
Despite his team trailing by double-figures for most of the game, Wethington consistently got to the basket and made plays for the Bulldogs from the point guard position. He attacked the hoop strong the entire game, providing 18 points, eight in each half. Wethington also handed out a few assists and found open teammates in the second half when the defense concentrated on him.
King’s Fork senior wing Jonathan Holloway and senior guard Ricky Scott are expected to develop into complementary options around the playmaking skills of Wethington.