Lakeland boys stun NRHS

Published 9:50 pm Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Lakeland sophomore Deonta Knight evaluates his options as Nansemond River High School senior Marvin Branch defends on Saturday at Lakeland High School.

Lakeland sophomore Deonta Knight evaluates his options as Nansemond River High School senior Marvin Branch defends on Saturday at Lakeland High School.

Lakeland High School’s boys’ basketball team turned recent history on its head Saturday evening with a 55-53 home victory over reeling Nansemond River High School.

“It was a monumental win for us,” Cavaliers head coach Clint Wright said.

The Cavaliers led by a comfortable margin for much of the game until the Warriors made it close in the fourth quarter.


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Showing respect for the experience brought by NR head coach Ed Young, Wright said, “They weren’t going to go down without a fight.”

However, the Warriors could not prevent their third loss in the last four games after starting the season 13-0.

Young summed up his team’s performance as “just disappointing and frustrating,” particularly after having defeated the Cavaliers 64-47 earlier this season at home. He refused to use the weather-induced lull as an excuse.

“I’m not blaming that on the layoff,” he said. “(Lakeland) had a layoff too.”

Wright said he was surprised at the timing of the game, because there had been debate during the week on whether it would happen on Saturday or not. He managed to put together a makeshift practice Saturday morning to go over some of the things that were lacking from previous games.

Tasks included working on free throw shooting, close proximity field goals and proper positioning on defense.

Wright considered what made the difference on Saturday.

“I’d say, if there was one thing that really stood out, it was our defense,” he said.

Warriors senior Devon Oakley is leading his team this year with 18.4 points per game, but the Cavaliers held him to five on Saturday.

“It was his season low,” Young said. “He did not shoot the ball very well at all,” going 2-for-11.

Wright highlighted a defensive standout when he said, “Irvin Ashburn was very significant.”

Ashburn, a junior, helped police the middle of the floor for Lakeland. When not logging critical blocks, of which he had three, he was helping alter some of Nansemond River’s shots late in the game.

Sophomore Khallil McGlone came off the bench and also provided some key defensive play.

Wright cited other key differences with the previous contest against the Warriors.

“Jaquan Yulee played the full game,” he said, alluding to the sophomore’s ejection last time.

Sophomore Deonta Knight was held to four points then. On Saturday, he had 11 points, six rebounds and two assists, while Yulee had 11 points and five boards.

“When you’ve got to contend with these players for a full game, it does make a difference,” Wright said.

Senior Markese Wright led Lakeland in scoring with 16 points to go with four rebounds and three assists. Senior Marche’ Everette added eight points, nine boards and four assists.

Nansemond River was led by junior Scott Spencer, who had 23 points, while senior Marvin Branch had 11 points and freshman Kevin Davis had 10.

The Warriors (14-3, 3-2) are still second in the Ironclad Conference, but Young said, “I don’t see anybody catching Heritage (High School),” which remained undefeated in the conference going into Tuesday night’s game at King’s Fork High School (10-7, 3-2). Young hopes his team can regroup and hold on to the second seed, which will grant the Warriors a bye in the tournament.

Meanwhile, Coach Wright and Lakeland aim to stay humble.

“The win on Saturday just showed you one indication of what our potential can be,” he said. “Now, have we arrived yet? No.” But he later added, “As far as being on our way, I think we are.”

Nansemond River visited Phoebus High School on Tuesday evening while Lakeland (8-9, 2-3) visited Denbigh High School.