Cavaliers tame Wildcats

Published 10:49 pm Wednesday, December 4, 2013

It was Feb. 8 when Great Bridge High School ended Lakeland High School’s boys’ basketball season in the district tournament, but the tables were turned in Tuesday night’s 2013-14 season opener.

The Wildcats have lost several key players from last year’s team, including Eastern Region and Southeastern District Player of the Year Marcus Evans, who transferred to Cape Henry Collegiate School. But Great Bridge remains a physical team that still held the advantage over Lakeland much of the time on Tuesday.

“Many will say it was an ugly win, that we should not have won,” Cavs head coach Clint Wright said. “We were down for a large majority of the game.”

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But the Cavaliers used some stifling second half defense to turn the tide, leading to a 53-49 road victory.

“I’ll take those ugly wins,” Wright said, while noting Great Bridge showed similar offensive strategy and execution compared to last year.

Lakeland trailed by about a dozen points during the first half.

“We inserted a few role players, and they got it within (six) going into the half,” Wright said.

The next eight minutes of the contest turned out to be pivotal.

“We held them to just five points in the third quarter, and I thought that was the difference in the game,” Wright said.

With a 14-5 scoring advantage during that time, the Cavs went from trailing 31-25 at halftime to leading 39-36 entering the final period.

Wright said four players keyed the defensive effort: senior Markese Wright and sophomores Daquan Boyette, Qurante Budd and Khallil McGlone. They were aggressive, running through picks and chasing Wildcat players down.

“The way these guys can really cling to offensive ball handlers, it really helped us on tonight,” Wright said.

In the interest of seeing his team grow, Wright was actually pleased the game was not easy.

“I will definitely take a win like this in preparation for the season to come,” the coach said.

Cavaliers sophomore Deonta Knight recorded a double-double, leading his team with 13 points and 11 rebounds. Boyette came off the bench to contribute 11 points and five assists, and senior Marche’ Everette also had 11 points.

Lakeland (1-0, 0-0) hosts Indian River High School on Friday at 7:15 p.m.