Can Lakeland make it all the way to the top of the district?

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 3, 2003

Suffolk News-Herald

Last Jan. 10, Mike Camp sank a jumper at the buzzer to give Lakeland its biggest victory of the millennium – a 61-59 victory over perennial Southeastern District powerhouse Nansemond River. Enthused by their victory, the Cavaliers charged to second place in the district and into the Eastern Region tournament, ending with a record of 16-9.

When the two Suffolk teams battle on Jan. 9 and Feb. 6, Camp doesn’t want things to be as tight as last time. &uot;I think about that sometimes,&uot; he said of last season’s shot. &uot;Hopefully we’ll have a clearer victory this year; we don’t want to make it so close. I’ve been ready to play them since school started; I really feel like we can go somewhere this year.&uot;

Email newsletter signup

Perhaps a new basketball coach is the key to taking the Cavaliers to the top; James Jones, formerly an assistant on the Nansemond River junior varsity team that won its respective Southeastern District title, now hopes to lead the older Lakeland boys to a similar accomplishment.

&uot;There’s a lot of little things that we have to fix right now, but we have a great work ethic and attitude, and our seniors have shown a lot of leadership,&uot; said Jones, who has seven students in their final year at the school, and 11 returners overall. &uot;These kids really care about what they’re doing, and we can’t ask for much more than that.&uot;

Eric Ruffin and Kenny Reid are two seniors anxious to show Suffolk and the rest of the Eastern Region just how much they care about crashing the boards and crushing the courts this season.

&uot;We just don’t get tired,&uot; said Ruffin. &uot;We’ve been conditioning ourselves in practice and scrimmages.&uot; The team scrimmaged Booker T. Washington and Varina in the last few weeks.

&uot;We saw the mistakes we made in the scrimmages on film, and then we came out and fixed them in practice,&uot; he said. &uot;We’ve been fixing the little things, like talking more on defense and helping each other out on offense.&uot;

Reid is feeling the rush that comes from a farewell year. &uot;Being a senior makes you play about 10 times harder than ever before,&uot; he said. &uot;You’re more into it, because if you don’t play well, you go home for good. We’ve got a good number of seniors, and hopefully the younger guys can learn from us so we can have more depth on the bench.&uot;