Lakeland struggles in Classic

Published 8:48 pm Friday, December 27, 2013

Lakeland High School's Khallil McGlone, left, and Daquan Boyette press Granby High School on Friday during the King's Fork Christmas Classic.

Lakeland High School’s Khallil McGlone, left, and Daquan Boyette press Granby High School on Friday during the King’s Fork Christmas Classic.

Consistency has eluded Lakeland High School’s boys’ basketball team in the third annual King’s Fork Christmas Classic and, as a result, so have wins.

The Cavaliers fell in overtime on Thursday to Norview High School and then failed to convert on the final play against Granby High School on Friday, losing 43-42 at King’s Fork High School.

Lakeland head coach Clint Wright said he talked with his players before Friday’s game about coming out strong, but it didn’t work.

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“We started the game very lethargic, like we had just woke up,” he said.

The Cavs trailed 17-7 after the first period, but then they recovered, closing to 24-22 at halftime and taking a 36-35 lead entering the fourth.

“Khallil McGlone came out and spark-plugged us,” Wright said of his sophomore who had a game-high 16 points.

Sophomore Daquan Boyette and junior Terry Mitchell contributed off the bench with defensive savvy.

Lakeland played down the stretch without senior Marche’ Everette.

“Just the style of defense that we wanted to use didn’t favor Marche’,” Wright said, referring to a speedy strategy more suited to smaller players.

Despite Everette’s absence, Wright said the goal was still to go inside in the fourth quarter. The targets down low included sophomores Jaquan Yulee and Deonta Knight.

“We really wanted to try to take advantage of the low post play, and it just wasn’t executed,” Wright said, as his team frequently settled for jump shots.

The final possession of the game was a perfect illustration.

In the final seconds, Lakeland got an offensive rebound, trailing by one, and Wright called a timeout. He considered putting Everette in the game for the final play, but said, “We felt that (Knight) was hungry,” and wanted to take the final shot.

The Cavs went out, but did not get the ball inside to Knight. “It looked like a perimeter shot was about to take place,” Wright said, so he called another timeout. After that, ultimately, a Boyette three-point attempt fell short to end the game.

Yulee had nine points and eight rebounds while Knight had six points and 11 boards.

On Thursday, Lakeland fell 84-77 to Norview in overtime, despite holding a growing lead for most of the game — 19-16 after the first quarter, 33-27 at halftime and 53-44 to end the third.

“I think we played great in spurts,” Wright said. “This team right now is not in a position where we can continue to play in spurts and be successful and win ball games.”

The Cavs were aware the Pilots periodically execute a press and seemed to handle it well in the first half, but not in the final stages of regulation.

“It seems like the last two minutes of the ball game, we chose to get a touch lackadaisical,” Wright said.

Lakeland fell behind, but Knight forced overtime via a short basket in the paint.

In the extra period, the Cavs could not convert.

“I think it was a matter of the shots not falling,” Wright said. “We did have a few players that had fouled out,” including senior Markese Wright and sophomore Qurante Budd.

The coach added that his team did what it needed to offensively, but it did not give what was necessary on hustle plays, in contrast to Norview.

Everette led the team with 21 points and Yulee had 18 points and 15 rebounds, despite playing on a weakened ankle.

Lakeland (3-6, 0-2) will play in the final day of the King’s Fork Christmas Classic today at 3 p.m.