Cavs lose close game to Kellam

Published 10:20 pm Tuesday, January 14, 2014

By Matthew Hatfield

Special to the News-Herald

Lakeland High School’s boys’ basketball team nearly pulled off an upset win over the Kellam Knights on Saturday in the sixth annual Basketball Classic in Virginia Beach.

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The Knights came in red hot, having won eight in a row, but the Cavaliers built a surprising 12-point advantage early in the game and had a 31-23 lead at halftime.

The lead unraveled in the second half, though, with Kellam tying the score at the end of the third quarter and pushing ahead in the fourth period to hand the Cavs a 48-46 loss.

With the loss, the seventh by seven points or less, Lakeland drops to 6-8 overall. Coach Clint Wright is still searching for consistency and stronger finishes.

“We’re still playing in spurts,” he said. “You cannot win at this level and play in spurts. We put on a decent showing, got up 12 points and attempted to maintain that, but then one turnover led to the next. It was the same old song.”

Lakeland turned the ball over 17 times, including 11 times in the second half.

“We called a time-out hoping to settle them down and told them that we have to run our offense the way it’s designed without any hidden agendas. We get back on the court and get back to the hidden agendas. Playing in spurts won’t get us wins. It will get us competitive play, but we will not get wins in that regard.”

The game featured five ties and five lead changes with a back-and-forth fourth-quarter conclusion. Lakeland was unable to find the touch shooting the ball in the second half, misfiring on 16 of 21 shot attempts. Meanwhile, Kellam junior point guard Janai Raynor-Powell picked up Player of the Game honors by recording 19 points, six assists and five steals.

One of Lakeland’s bright spots was sophomore forward Deonta Knight, who scored 10 of his team-high 14 points in the first half. Knight grabbed 11 rebounds to record a double-double and also made five steals.

“I think Deonta maintained some moderate stock. He showed folks that he can play,” Wright said. “Right now he’s playing with an elbow injury and a nagging soreness that we definitely need to get rid of, but we can’t get him off the floor.”

Senior forward Marche’ Everett posted nine points and 11 rebounds in 24 minutes of action. The Cavs were solid at the foul line, making 16-of-21, but shot just 2-for-12 from three-point range.

The Cavs have notched three wins in their past five after a 3-6 start to be in position for a late-season run.