Lakeland surprise stalls vs. Tigers

Published 10:53 pm Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Lakeland's Dwight Jefferson leads a Cavalier fast break against Oscar Smith in Wednesday night's Southeastern District Tournament game at King's Fork. No. 7-seeded Lakeland couldn't pull off another upset as No. 3 Oscar Smith won 65-44 to move into Friday night's final.

Two nights after upsetting city rival and district runner-up King’s Fork in the opening round of the Southeastern District Tournament, Lakeland couldn’t repeat the trick as No. 3 Oscar Smith pulled away in the second half for a 65-44 win in the district semis Wednesday at King’s Fork.

The Cavaliers (8-15) made a bid at a second surprise for a little more than a half.

When Josh Beck drained a three-pointer with the first Cavalier possession of the third period, it brought Lakeland within a 30-29 deficit.

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After Beck’s three, though, Oscar Smith senior guard Dejuan Wright spurred his side for what went on to be a 23-3 Tiger run over the next 10 minutes of play.

Wright personally made it a 9-1 Tiger run, four times going off the dribble to pull up and hit long jumpers, three twos and one triple, to take Oscar Smith’s lead to 37-29. That margin was the largest Tiger lead of the game to that point and Oscar Smith kept going to a 53-32 lead with 5:30 left in the game.

Three-point shooting kept the Cavaliers in the game early on. Samson Worrell and Beck canned threes in the opening minutes and the Cavs traded the lead with the Tigers in the first period.

Rodney Goodman finished a breakaway with a dunk for a three-point play to make it 18-15 Tigers at the 5:25 mark of the second period. Goodman made three from beyond the arc a minute later to bring the Cavs within 20-18.

Lakeland made 5-of-10 three-pointers in the first half and shot well overall when they kept the ball long enough to get open shots.

Many Cavalier possessions, though, fell victim to one of 13 first-half turnovers. Oscar Smith, always with three or four quick guards on the floor, certainly did its share to force those turnovers.

Beck led the Cavaliers with 19 points, seven rebounds and four assists. Goodman added 11 points. Antonio Jefferson’s eight points and Worrell’s six points completed Lakeland’s scoring. Wright led the Tigers with 22 points.

Oscar Smith goes on to meet Nansemond River in the tournament final Friday night.

Lakeland will be the No. 4 seed out of the Southeastern in the Eastern Region Tournament, which starts Monday night.