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District#8217;s top team gives Lady Cavaliers a tough lesson Friday night

Andrew Giermak

The Lakeland girls’ basketball team has come a good way from last season’s one-win campaign.

Friday night, the Lady Cavs learned however there’s still a gap between “getting better” and going up against the Southeastern District’s top team and Virginia’s third-ranked team, Indian River.

Lakeland hung in the game through the first half, but the Lady Braves (18-1, 13-0) showed off too much athleticism and too much defensive pressure for the home-standing Lady Cavs.

IR pulled away after halftime for an 80-48 win.

With a full court press and quick players at every position, the Lady Braves jumped on Lakeland right out of the gates, and led 8-0 before a LeCetra Arrington three from the right corner finally broke the ice for Lakeland.

Arrington and Sharde Brown worked a smooth 2-on-1 break, with Brown getting the lay-in to make it 8-5, and then at the 4:17 mark of the first, Arrington canned a jumper just inside the arc, drawing Lakeland to within 10-8.

IR took control again though, with a well-organized offense and more pressure all over the floor on defense.

The Lady Braves outscored Lakeland 10-2 for the rest of the period and led 20-10.

IR had forced nine Lady Cav turnovers, but “forced” is the key term.

Lakeland was not being careless with the ball, and when they got shots, they were knocking them down; but IR’s quickness was challenging the Lady Cavs at every turn.

Arrington drained two more jumpers on Lakeland’s first two possessions of the second quarter, and Nina Russell then added a 15-foot jumper of her own, but the good Lakeland offense was only keeping pace with the visitors, who still led 26-16 with about five minutes before the half.

Trailing 39-25 at the half, on the first possession of the third quarter, a basket in the lane by Natarsha Whitworth cut the Lady Brave lead to 12 and seemed to signal that Lakeland would continue to give IR a fight.

The momentum was short-lived though as IR scored the next eight straight points, and quickly, IR had their largest lead of the game, 47-27.

Arrington led the Lady Cavs with 17 points, including three treys. Brown scored 13 points and added nine rebounds .

Whitworth, despite missing some of the second and third quarters because of foul trouble, recorded seven points, seven rebounds and four assists.

Terika Lunsford added six points, all in the second half.

RESCHEDULED GAME

Lakeland’s Senior Night game against Franklin, originally scheduled for Tuesday evening, has been rescheduled for MONDAY NIGHT (Jan. 30) at 7 p.m. at Lakeland.

It will be the final home game for five Lady Cavalier seniors, Sharde Brown, Mary Everett, Erica Rimasse, Nina Russell and Natarsha Whitworth.