‘Jenningses’ help young Lady Cavs hang on
Published 12:00 am Saturday, December 13, 2003
Thus far this season, fate had been playing its hand against the Lakeland junior varsity girls. For their first three games, the young Lady Cavaliers gave it everything they had, only to fall a few points short. On Friday night, however, it seemed as though the dark trend was about to be broken. With six minutes to go, the girls had charged to a 44-36 lead over visiting Hickory. Perhaps now, they could relax and wait to enjoy the victory.
Unfortunately, they did. The Lady Hawks flew back on a 13-4 lead that landed them a 49-48 advantage with just over a minute to play.
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Lakeland called timeout, and MoNae Jennings took the inbound pass. She attempted to drive the lane, but was fouled, sending her to the free throw line for a one-and-one. She made the front end, but missed the back, and Hickory took over. With 40 seconds left, Lakeland grabbed possession, and Jennings was fouled again, this time while shooting.
The John F. Kennedy Middle School eighth-grader dribbled, took a deep breath, and stared at the hoop. As if the pressure of the game wasn’t enough, she had to listen to dozens of Hickory parents and fans, which were ringing cowbells and screaming at the young Lady Cavalier to miss the shot.
Fortunately, Jennings had a team of allies that could neutralize the noise. The junior varsity cheerleaders headed into the bleachers, stood next to the opposing fans, and chanted, &uot;Sink it, sink it! Sink it, sink it&uot; to drown out the naysayers.
Jennings listened to her teammates, swishing the free throws. Hickory failed to get off another bucket, and the young Lady Cavaliers had their first victory of the season.
&uot;Our coaches said we had to beat them, so we did,&uot; said Jennings, who finished the night with 15 points (her sister Ransheeda led the team with 21). &uot;I just acted like I was back at home, shooting baskets by myself.&uot;
The older squad didn’t fare as well, as their offense never got out of first gear (including a three-point third quarter) in a 51-34 loss to the older Lady Hawks. Jamaica Mack led the Lady Cavaliers with 12 points. The Lakeland squads will visit Indian River on Tuesday.
The male Cavaliers followed in the footsteps of the junior varsity girls, nearly letting the game slip away before recovering just in time. Lakeland (5-0, 3-1) led by 14 as the final quarter began, only to see Hick-ory charge back to within five before the Cavaliers could slip away with a 47-45 win. Eric Ruffin, Corey Davis and Tyrone Parker all his clutch free throws in the final minutes to secure the victory. Ruffin led all scorers with 16 points, and Mike Camp added 10. The Cavaliers are scheduled to host Indian River on Tuesday, although this game is tentative because of the Braves’ extended football season, which caused the postponement of their game against Nansemond River earlier this week.
Lexi Holland scored nine points and Ann-Taylor Spain, Michelle Boucher and Claire Leonard all had seven, but Bishop Sullivan managed to hold off visiting Nansemond-Suffolk Academy 33-30 on Friday. The Lady Saints (2-2) will visit Norfolk Collegiate on Tuesday.
The Nansemond-Suffolk Academy boys squad was even less successful, falling 44-37 to host Catholic. Bryan Breedlove led the Saints with 11 points, and Kyle Jett added 10. The Saints will host Norfolk Collegiate on Tuesday.