Lady Cavs go back-to-back

Published 2:51 pm Friday, December 31, 2010

Fast break: Lakeland’s Shaikeyla Jordan leads a fast break for the Lady Cavs versus Granby during the Norcom Christmas Tournament Thursday. The Lady Cavaliers rallied from behind to beat Granby 39-37 and advance to the championship game of the Grey bracket. Lakeland (3-5) has won back-to-back games for the first time since Jan. 8 and 12, 2010.

PORTSMOUTH — Lakeland’s girls basketball team lost each of the first three quarters Thursday afternoon against Granby.

The last quarter exemplified the progress new head coach Brandey Blunt is making with her Lady Cavaliers.

“The girls are starting to have more confidence. There’s more and more belief they can win,” Blunt said.

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After scoring only three points in the third period, Lakeland rallied to win the final eight minutes 16-5 to take a 39-37 victory. It’s the second win in two days by Lakeland (3-5). The last time the Lady Cavs won back-to-back games was nearly one whole season ago, on Jan. 8 and 12, 2010.

More important for the present, the victories put Lakeland into the championship game of the Grey division of the Norcom Christmas Tournament Friday night.

Most of Thursday’s contest against the Lady Comets was a serious struggle for the Lady Cavaliers. Lakeland had to chip into a big Granby lead in the first half just to get within a 27-20 deficit at the half.

The third quarter was even more difficult, at least offensively.

“What I told them at halftime was the way we would win this game had to be defensively. I think they took it so literally they weren’t thinking about offense at all,” Blunt said.

Lakeland clamped down on Granby, allowing only five points in the period. By that measure, Lakeland’s effort in the third quarter also saved the game.

From a 32-23 deficit, Danielle Reeves sparked Lakeland’s offense. Her work in the paint led to two free throws and a short putback off a rebound.

Tashah Woodus scored off an offensive rebound to give Lakeland a 33-32 lead. Granby’s first points of the fourth quarter tied the game 34-34 with 2:25 to play.

After leading the Lady Cavaliers with 20 points against Norview, point guard Rodnesia Sallins was held scoreless until Lakeland really needed her down the stretch.

Sallins went 2-for-2 at the line to put Lakeland up two with 2:18 left, then 2-for-2 again to make it 38-36 Lakeland with 1:47 left.

Leading by a point, Lakeland ran about 0:45 off the clock before Shaikeyla Jordan was sent to the line with 0:34 left. She missed both but Reeves got the rebound. Jordan made 1-of-2 at the line with 0:23 to go.

Granby had a three-pointer go in and out with 0:12 and counting. One final chance needed to go the length of the court with 0:02 left, but, they couldn’t get a shot off.

All eight Lady Cavaliers scored between two and eight points. Dashea Collins scored a team-high eight points. Chardonnay Patterson and Laneisha Gainey scored six each.

“We keep starting off slow. We play like we want to feel out the other team, but that lets them pounce on us,” Blunt said. “But then we start to realize, wow, we can win this game.”

“Believing, that’s the whole key to our wins (Wednesday and Thursday),” Blunt said.