Cavs finish off Cox in final minutes

Published 11:48 am Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Lakeland’s boys basketball team broke open a tied game in the final quarter, winning the last eight minutes 15-6, to defeat Cox on Monday night 57-48 at First Colonial High School.

With the Falcons still within a basket with the clock going under four minutes, a couple short spurts provided the Cavaliers (3-5) with enough offense to pull away.

From an inbounds play along the baseline, Josh Beck drained a three-pointer from the left corner. The Cavaliers held the Falcons on their ensuing possession and Shaquille Wilson led a fast break back the other way and scored with a lay-up, putting Lakeland up 51-44 with 3:29 to play.

Lakeland went scoreless for the next two minutes and Cox fought back to within a possession again, 51-48. With the Falcons trying to press the Cavaliers, Lakeland broke the press and attacked for easy baskets on back-to-back possessions. Rodney Goodman and Wilson finished the breaks with lay-ups and Lakeland’s 55-48 lead with 0:27 left proved to be safe.

Lakeland led most of the way after a fast start, but Cox kept the game played most at a methodical pace and stayed within reach.

The Cavaliers also dealt with a bunch of foul trouble. Four of Lakeland’s starting five finished the game with four fouls, but no Cavalier fouled out. “Luckily,” was how Lakeland head coach James Jones said his team survived the foul trouble.

The Cavaliers, with more quickness around the court than the Falcons, used full-court defense to hassle Cox early on and build a 17-7 lead after one quarter. The Cavs got a boost off the bench from Chris Cross. The lanky forward scored the last six points of the period. Lakeland held Cox to 1-of-11 field goal shooting and forced six turnovers in the first period.

Lakeland’s defensive aggression came with a price though as fouls built up quickly. By the 7:03 mark of the second quarter, three Lakeland starters had two or more fouls and Cox was already in the double bonus.

Cox continued shooting poorly from the floor, but the Falcons made up for it at the foul line. At halftime, the Falcons had chipped back to within four, a 28-24 Cavalier lead.

A three-pointer by Goodman gave Lakeland a 37-29 margin early in the third period before Cox rolled off an 11-0 run.

A basket by Sean Walden stopped the Falcon rally and made it 40-39 Cox. A three-point play by Goodman, as he was fouled while banking in a short jumper, made it 42-42 going to the fourth quarter.

Wilson led Lakeland with 16 points, nine rebounds and six assists. Goodman had 15 points and 10 rebounds. Walden and Beck added eight points each.

“I thought we moved the ball better tonight, which is something we really wanted to do,” said Jones.

“We’ve got to keep improving, it’s as simple as that,” Jones said.