‘Hoops for a Cure’ has a big night

Published 11:54 pm Friday, November 20, 2009

If the first scrimmage of the season is any indication, Lakeland’s girls basketball team will rely on its athleticism, quickness and defense to win games this upcoming season.

The Lady Cavaliers tipped off their season in a special way on Friday evening, hosting “Lady Cavs Hoops for a Cure.” In the first game of a tripleheader, Lakeland took on Ocean Lakes and held OL to 13 points in 24 minutes worth of basketball while forcing 36 turnovers, mostly by a hectic full-court, man-to-man press.

Proceeds from the night went to benefit the Susan G. Komen Cancer Fund. Lakeland’s gym and cafeteria were decked out with lots of pink. The coaches and many players wore pink to add to the atmosphere.

Throughout the evening there was entertainment, auctions to raise more money for charity, information on breast cancer and a guest appearance from Old Dominion women’s basketball coach Wendy Larry.

Lakeland started slowly, missing its first eight field goal attempts before Quaneisha Knight hit a three-pointer got the Lady Cavaliers going.

After Ocean Lakes had a 5-3 lead, Lakeland scored the last nine points of the first period. Once Lakeland scored, it could get its full-court press set, and once Lakeland set its press, the Lady Cavaliers forced turnover after turnover. At the end of the first period, Ocean Lakes had five field goal attempts and 13 turnovers.

Knight, playing point guard for the Lady Cavs, finished the first two periods with nine points. Tierra Armstrong played a big role in Lakeland’s defense and had six points, five steals and four rebounds in the first half.

Armstrong played at Lakeland two seasons ago, transferred to and played for Nansemond River last year, and now is back at Lakeland. Armstrong and Ashley Johnson, said Lakeland head coach Alan Jones, will provide most of the returning experience.

The second half was played with shortened quarters. Johnson finished with 13 points, six steals and five rebounds. Johnson added seven rebounds. Knight finished with 10 points. In 24 minutes of play, or three-quarters of a game, Lakeland “won” the scrimmage 42-13.

During an extra-long halftime show, Lakeland’s choir, cheerleaders and the Marching Quiet Storm band took the court. The Marching Quiet Storm went beyond even their halftime show for football games, but for many of the spectators, the band’s performance was the best entertainment of the evening.

Lakeland also presented Larry and other members of the Lady Monarch team with gifts for coming out to support the event.

As for getting ready for the upcoming season, Jones said his team didn’t lose a big class last year, but they lost two outstanding players in Terika Lunsford and Kaylyn Chatman.

“It’s very hard to replace a player who gave you 18-plus points per game and a very good point guard, but we’re going to have to do it like we did it tonight, with balanced scoring across the board,” said Jones.

“We’re very athletic and getting to be very sound on defense, but we’re still missing some things,” said Jones.

Lakeland has one more scrimmage, on Monday, Nov. 30 against Greensville County, before hosting Nansemond River on Friday, Dec. 4 to open the regular season.