Cavs lose to Wildcats

Published 9:24 pm Saturday, December 8, 2012

Lakeland senior guard Samson Worrell looks to evade the Great Bridge defense during the Cavaliers’ 75-56 loss at home on Friday. | Melissa Glover Photo

After an excellent 4-0 week to start the boys’ basketball season, the Lakeland Cavaliers played a second week schedule that included two of the better Southeastern District teams in Nansemond River and Great Bridge.

The Cavaliers hung with the Warriors until the fourth quarter on Tuesday, but they were caught off-balance early against the Wildcats on Friday, ultimately losing 75-56 at home.

“We played a very efficient Great Bridge basketball team,” Lakeland head coach Clint Wright said.

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The Wildcats got off to a fast start.

“I think at one time it was 21-5,” Wright said. “That was when I called the first timeout. Actually, the guys were somewhat gassed and just trying to keep up with the pace. On (the Wildcats), all four guards had the ability to shoot the three, and then the center in the middle was able to grab great rebounds.”

Lakeland freshman forward Deonta Knight tries to score on the Wildcats defender. Knight contributed 11 points for the Cavaliers, who are now 4-2 overall and 2-2 in the district. | Melissa Glover Photo

Wright described the Wildcats as using a four-out, one-in offensive scheme with four guards on the perimeter and a center inside. This set-up was difficult for the Cavaliers to defend and helped give the Wildcats an uncanny ability to find an open player.

“Definitely something we’ve all got to get accustomed to playing is defense as a unit,” Wright said. “We were playing defense in spots where if we played in units, we could have basically slowed that down.”

Wright was impressed with the Great Bridge guards, particularly junior Marcus Evans who led the 5-0 Wildcats with 22 points and also had five rebounds and five steals.

“Marcus Evans is definitely one of the top players in the district,” Wright said.

Wright and the Cavaliers were able to make some adjustments at the half that helped close the gap that had formed on the scoreboard.

“I think at halftime we were down 28 or 29 and we came back out in the second half and we put forth a valiant effort,” Wright said. “The defense that I anticipated on playing was the way we played in the third quarter, and we got back in it, I would say, right around 18 to 19 points. But that’s the closest that we got.”

As far as keeping up with the fast pace that defined both the Nansemond River and Great Bridge games, Wright assured that the team would continue its conditioning.

“That’s part of our standard,” he said. “We always feel that we’ve got to be in great shape, and truly, I don’t think anyone works harder.”

But Wright felt that he had pinpointed what his team needed to work on to succeed — its game in the post, near the basket that can complement strong play from the guards.

“I think that (if) we have that balance, I think we can be in any ballgame,” he said. “We relied last night on a lot of our guard play, which they are competitive, they can compete, but I think we’ve got to have that balance in the low post arena.”

His plan for Saturday morning’s practice was to work on making the Lakeland low post more effective than it was against Great Bridge.

“Even when we got the basketball, we weren’t efficient in the low post, and I think that, to me, will be the key to our success,” he said.

The Cavaliers were led in scoring by senior guard Seveante Williams with 14 points; freshman guard Jaquan Yulee had 12 points with six rebounds and freshman forward Deonta Knight chipped in 11 points and six rebounds.

Lakeland (4-2, 2-2) will travel to Chesapeake to play Western Branch on Tuesday.