Cavaliers get off to an exciting start, what’s next?

Published 12:00 am Saturday, December 2, 2006

The day after a wild, exhausting double overtime win at Norcom, the Lakeland Cavalier boys basketball squad was right back to work Friday afternoon.

The Cavs were getting set for this evening’s match-up against Churchland in the Suffolk Showcase at King’s Fork.

The Cavs and Truckers start the doubleheader at 5:30 and KF and Norcom play the nightcap.


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Coach James Jones’ team is led by two seniors, Darold Lewis and Kenny Fletcher, and a veteran point guard, Voyland Cooke.

All three played key roles in Thursday night’s marathon, but Fletcher, a newcomer to Lakeland this season, hit the biggest shot of the night.

Down 73-70 with the clock running down under 15 seconds in the first overtime, Cooke drove to the bucket, but his shot was off.

After a scramble for the rebound, Kris Brown finally got a grip on the ball and pitched it out to the right wing and Fletcher who was spotted up behind the arc.

&uot;Absolutely,&uot; Fletcher said when asked if he knew it was good.

Fletcher had connected on two treys in the first half and he added another in the second overtime.

He finished with a team-high 20 points; Cooke and Darren Copeland scored 19 apiece in the 87-80 win.

But the opening game, no matter how thrilling, is still just one game down and there’s plenty to work on for Jones.

&uot;That’s the key, we found a way to win,&uot; said Jones on Friday.

&uot;But we haven’t put together four good quarters period, in the scrimmages or our first game, and definitely not four consecutive quarters.

Lakeland led 46-29 early in the third period Thursday, only for the Greyhounds to turn up the defensive pressure, force a majority of 26 Lakeland turnovers in the third and fourth periods, and rally back.

&uot;At the beginning of the season last year we had confirmed leadership with J. J. Cook and Jaleel Nelson,&uot; said Jones.

&uot;Right now, we don’t have that confirmed leadership yet.

Darold and Voyland are our most experienced guys, and Kenny does a great job leading by example, but he’s sort of non-vocal.

&uot;They have a great attitude and a great work ethic,&uot; said Jones of his team, &uot;but this is the beginning of the season, it’s an exciting time of the season for everyone.

When we meet adversity, we need to have the same work ethic and enthusiasm, and that can’t change.&uot;

Cooke, even as one of the taller Lakeland Cavs at 6’5&uot;, takes up most of the point guard duties for Jones.

&uot;I need to be a leader and lead by example.

I have to keep everyone working hard,&uot; said Cooke.

As for what he expects from himself game-in, game-out, Cooke said, &uot;I have to attack more.

&uot;I have to create more plays, last year we had Jaleel and he did a lot of that for us.&uot;

Lewis is the main leader on the inside for the Cavs.

Lewis scored seven points Thursday night, but he also added plenty of tough hustle plays in the lane, totaling six rebounds, five blocks and three assists.

&uot;Everyone’s coming together and working together,&uot; said Lewis.

&uot;Bond&uot; and &uot;family&uot; are also key parts to Lakeland’s hopeful success this season as Fletcher, Cooke and Lewis all used those two words to describe the attitude the team has.

And aboue if Lakeland will be ready to take the floor again this evening, to take on a Churchland team that KF beat on Wednesday, 74-59, Lewis said, &uot;we’ll definitely be ready.&uot;