Cavaliers muzzle Bulldogs
Published 10:40 pm Friday, February 14, 2014
In recent history, Lakeland High School’s boys’ basketball team has come up short against its Suffolk rivals, but that trend has changed this year. After scoring a narrow win over visiting Nansemond River High School on Feb. 1, the Cavaliers went to the Kennel on Thursday night and never trailed en route to a 55-47 win over King’s Fork High School.
Lakeland head coach Clint Wright was excited with the win, giving full credit to the Bulldogs as a quality opponent.
“I think they’re one of the best teams in the area,” he said. “We just decided to play a full game on this evening.”
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Wright said the key factor in the win was that his team was “dialed in.”
“I thought from the tap, our focus was there,” he said.
Meanwhile, King’s Fork head coach Josh Worrell could not say the same for his ball club.
His team “didn’t come out with any intensity, any effort, and you can’t do that in this conference and expect to be successful,” he said.
The Cavaliers opened the game with an 8-1 advantage and led at halftime, 25-15. Lakeland sophomore Deonta Knight scored 14 of his game-high 23 points in the first half.
He summed up what he was able to do to help his team: “Just get wide open shots, get back on (defense), get everybody involved so I can take easy shots.”
He also grabbed 10 rebounds and had a major impact on the outcome of the game simply by going 6-for-6 from the foul line.
Wright said he did not realize Knight had racked up so many points because he tends to score in spurts while contributing other intangibles in between.
“We’re grateful to have a player of his talent,” Wright said. “I think he’s got tremendous leadership qualities.”
The coach knew King’s Fork would make a run in the second half.
“It was just a matter of whether we could withstand it,” he said.
He cited his players’ persistent focus as well as their sufficient offense and hustle plays as the keys to keeping the Bulldogs at bay.
Worrell said his team missed some important shots at the end of the third quarter and beginning of the fourth that could have made it a one-possession game.
An inside basket by King’s Fork junior Dale Roscoe in the fourth quarter made it 41-37, but then Lakeland began hitting free throws.
“The games we lose, we lose because of the free throw line,” Worrell said. “They made eight more free throws, and they win by eight.”
The Cavs went 19-for-28 from the line, and the Bulldogs went 11-for-15.
Senior Ricky Scott led King’s Fork with 12 points, sophomore Deshaun Wethington had 10 and Roscoe finished with nine points and 10 rebounds.
Wright praised the physical play of his interior big men, including senior Marche’ Everette and sophomore Jaquan Yulee.
“When we are playing that physical nature of basketball, we can compete with the best of them,” the coach said. “Any game that we’ve won, we’ve won the physical battle.”
Everette contributed 16 points and eight boards for the game.
Wright was also pleased with the depth of his backcourt and his guards’ willingness to fill their roles at certain points in the game. Senior Markese Wright and sophomore Daquan Boyette started the game while junior Kenya Latham and sophomore Khallil McGlone finished it.
“It just says a lot about the talent and the schemes that we can put together, and I was just grateful that they bought in,” he said.
Lakeland (9-12, 3-6) concludes its regular season today at Phoebus High School, with a 3:30 p.m. tip-off.
King’s Fork (12-10, 5-5) has secured the third seed in the conference tourney and will play on Tuesday against the No. 6 seed, with a 7:30 p.m. tip-off. The tournament begins on Monday, and all games will be played at King’s Fork High School.