Lady Cavaliers open with a win over rival

Published 11:47 pm Friday, December 4, 2009

Two seasons ago, Tierra Armstrong was on Lakeland’s varsity basketball team. Last season, Armstrong helped Nansemond River reach the Eastern Region Tournament.

On Friday night, with the start of another Southeastern District season, Armstrong was back with the Lady Cavaliers and she led Lakeland with 20 points in a 57-51 victory over city rival Nansemond River.

Lakeland led the whole second half, but never by more than 10 points. The Lady Cavaliers, Armstrong included, had to survive foul trouble for much of the night and especially in the final minute of play after Armstrong fouled out with 0:44 left.

A pair of free throws by NR’s Ashante Humphries made it 49-47 Lady Cavs following Armstrong’s fifth foul, but Lakeland hung on from there.

Point guard Quanisha Knight, who also had an outstanding game with 17 points, made two at the line with 0:42 left to make it a two-possession game. After a NR turnover, Knight was trapped near midcourt, but found Ashley Johnson alone near the hoop for a lay-up to effectively put the game out of reach.

The opening half went back and forth. The Lady Warriors seemed to have a good gameplan in the first few minutes. NR’s 6-foot-2 sophomore, Delisia Sharpe, was busy, getting five points and five rebounds in the first four minutes to get NR out to a 7-1 lead.

Lakeland came back and Porshe Garner’s 16-foot jumper just before the buzzer made it 11-10 Lakeland after a quarter.

The fouls against Lakeland became a problem in the second period as the Lady Warriors got to spend much of the period at the foul line. NR took advantage for the most part, going 14-for-21 (66.7 percent) at the line in the first half compared to 3-for-10 (30.0 percent) for Lakeland.

Knight and Armstrong hit back-to-back three-pointers to give Lakeland a momentary 17-16 lead in the quarter, but NR soon moved back in front and held a 24-22 lead at the break. Sharpe had eight points to lead NR in the first half.

By halftime, six Lady Cavaliers had two or more fouls and that Armstrong wound up being the only Lady Cavalier to foul out by the night’s end was fortunate for Lakeland.

A three-pointer by Knight put Lakeland up 25-24 to open the second half. Lakeland led the remainder of the way, but it wasn’t easy.

Lakeland led 36-31 going to the final quarter and scored four straight points to start the fourth.

A drive and three-point play by Armstrong switched the momentum back to the Lady Cavaliers after NR had cut the lead down to four.

Armstrong made one of two at the line and Ashley Johnson scored on a lay-up after an offensive board, pushing Lakeland’s lead to 46-36 with just under four minutes left.

The Lady Warriors made one last push and did it at the foul line. Sharpe made four straight free throws and Kiara Washington went 2-for-2 with 3:11 left. After forcing a Lakeland turnover, Jaymee Faggart went to the line and made one, making it 46-43 Lakeland.

The score stayed the same for a few possessions both ways as Lakeland tried to stall on each possession. Lakeland got one free throw, got the rebound on the miss, then ran about 40 seconds off the clock until Garner was open for a lay-up with 0:59 left to give Lakeland a 49-43 margin.

Garner finished with 10 points, four rebounds and four assists. Brittany Hailes led Lakeland on the boards with 11.

Washington led NR with 16 points. Washington scored 12 in the second half. Sharpe finished with 14 points and 11 rebounds.

Lakeland (1-0) now faces three straight road games, starting on Tuesday at defending district champs Indian River. Nansemond River (0-1) hosts Grassfield on Tuesday night.