Cavaliers claim Ironclad and Suffolk

Published 11:42 pm Friday, February 21, 2014

Lakeland High School head coach Clint Wright holds up the trophy commemorating the Cavaliers' 42-40 victory in the conference tournament championship game.

Lakeland High School head coach Clint Wright holds up the trophy commemorating the Cavaliers’ 42-40 victory in the conference tournament championship game.

The Ironclad Conference has its first boys’ basketball champion, but just as significant, Suffolk’s hardwood has a new ruler. And it did not come by way of royalty or a River.

King’s Fork High School, which won last year’s Southeastern District tournament, made Lakeland High School work for it, all the way down to the Bulldogs’ half court shot with 0.3 seconds remaining. But the Cavaliers successfully engineered a come-from-behind 42-40 victory in Friday night’s title game at the Kennel.

Lakeland High School's Markese Wright, in mid-air, and Marche' Everette, right, defend King's Fork High School's Cornelius Norman during Friday's conference tournament title game. (Danny Haymond photo)

Lakeland High School’s Markese Wright, in mid-air, and Marche’ Everette, right, defend King’s Fork High School’s Cornelius Norman during Friday’s conference tournament title game. (Danny Haymond photo)

Lakeland head coach Clint Wright made a point to thank God as he and his team let the thrill of victory marinate, in only his second year with the Cavs. They had been losing close games all season, but when the guys believed and bought in 100 percent, he said, “Look what happens.”

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The game did not start ideally for the Cavaliers, as they trailed 15-8 after the first quarter and 24-16 at halftime.

“We didn’t have that fire, like were waiting for it to come,” Wright said, also crediting the Bulldogs for limiting his team. But after a halftime exhortation, he said he “saw that glimmer.”

The Cavs held King’s Fork to a three-point third quarter, coming within 29-26. By the fourth, Lakeland basketball was on display, which Wright described as “helter skelter with a sense of urgency and a will to win.”

Senior Marche’ Everette had 14 points, eight boards, hit the clutch free throw to tie the game 35-35, and made the go-ahead shot off a brilliant pass from senior Markese Wright.

Sophomore Deonta Knight had 11 points and 14 boards, while sophomore Jaquan Yulee added 10 points and five rebounds and many role players shined once again for Lakeland.