Cavs fall just shy at Heritage

Published 10:22pm Wednesday, January 15, 2014

The Lakeland High School boys’ basketball team was weatherproof for much of Tuesday night’s conference match-up, but the Heritage High School Hurricanes broke through in the end.

“Throughout the whole game, we were up by as much as eight or nine points,” Cavaliers head coach Clint Wright said.

But with just under three minutes left, the host Hurricanes went up by two points. Wright said his team committed some unforced turnovers and made bad decisions, possibly due to fatigue.

“(Heritage) capitalized on that greatly,” he said.

The Hurricanes hit nine free throws in the fourth quarter, and the contest culminated in a 61-59 Lakeland defeat.

It was an impressive showing for the Cavs on the road against the team ranked No. 2 in the state among Group 4A schools by VirginiaPreps.com.

Wright, however, is trying to keep his players from getting caught up in the rankings and instead cultivate in them a mindset in which success is expected, regardless of the opponent.

If his team had won, “We would not have celebrated it like it was a championship win,” he said. “We would have celebrated it like it was something we were supposed to do.”

With the loss, Lakeland falls to 6-9 overall and 0-3 in the conference, but Wright said, “Our record does not speak for the effort and for the level of play that these guys are playing at.”

Great defense was the primary reason Lakeland stayed in command for most of Tuesday night.

“We have the capacity to play a man-to-man defense, and we also have the ability to play a zone, and we went with a hybrid version last night,” Wright said.

Sophomore Daquan Boyette was one of the players that Wright said “came off the bench to really spark the efforts.” He applied defensive pressure at the point guard position.

He also provided seven assists, contributing to the Cavs’ strong offensive play.

“We shot the ball very well, and often,” Wright said.

Sophomore Qurante Budd led his team with 21 points.

The coach also credited sophomore Jaquan Yulee. Though Yulee did not start, he finished the game on the floor.

He had been a starter, but Wright said, “It seemed like all three of our big guys were getting tired at the same time.”

To avoid this, Yulee comes off the bench, and Wright said, “The great thing about him is he has accepted that role.”

Yulee ended up with eight rebounds and six points.

“The combo of Marche’ Everette, Jaquan Yulee and Deonta Knight all on the floor at the same time posed some minor problems to Heritage,” Wright said.

Everette, a senior, ended up with eight points and eight boards, while sophomore Deonta Knight had eight rebounds and five points.

The Cavaliers are coming off of three losses by a combined total of five points, staying in games, but unable to close them out.

“We’ve just got to put the complete package together,” Wright said.

Lakeland (6-9, 0-3) hosts Phoebus High School (2-11, 1-2) on Friday.

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