Dickens shines for Lakeland
Published 6:19 pm Saturday, December 26, 2015
Lakeland High School sophomore guard Makayla Dickens has surged back from an injury that sidelined her for much of her freshman season and helped trigger a Lady Cavaliers resurgence in the process.
Her play during the week of Dec. 13, which was typical of what she can do on the hardwood, led to her becoming the Duke Automotive-Suffolk News-Herald Player of the Week.
In a 59-35 victory at Hickory High School on Dec. 15, she contributed 18 points, nine rebounds and two assists, and despite a 66-62 home loss on Dec. 18 to Grassfield High School, she had a team-high 26 points in addition to seven boards, six assists and four steals.
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“I thought it was outstanding,” Lakeland coach Brandey Blunt said of Dickens’ performance that week. “She did exactly what her team needed her to do.”
Blunt said that against the Lady Hawks, Dickens was “was very active on both ends of the floor, rebounding and just getting her team involved. She was really good in that game.”
While the coach wished for a different result against the Lady Grizzlies, she said she thought Dickens stepped up.
“I still thought that, overall, she had a really good game.”
Dickens’ assessment of her own performance was positive but not quite as glowing.
“I felt it was pretty good,” she said, though she added she felt she could have done a little bit better, expressing a drive that Blunt has come to expect from her.
“As a basketball player, she is one of those kids that she always wants to do better, she always wants to be better,” Blunt said. “She’ll never settle.”
Dickens has had special motivation to contribute to the Lady Cavaliers in the wake of her freshman season that was all too short.
During a pep rally prior to the start of the 2014-15 campaign, she suffered a high ankle sprain that caused her to miss most of the season. She was able to come back for the last eight games.
When the injury happened, “I was disappointed because it was my freshman year, and I really wanted to make an impact for the team,” Dickens said. During the process of getting back to the court, “it was hard, but I put in a lot of work, and I just kept working at it and working at it, and I think I grew a lot due to being a leader on the team and helping my teammates just get better every day.”
Blunt described Dickens as a gym rat, who typically sticks around after practice to continue honing her game.
“That’s a good thing, and now she gets her other teammates to a point where after practice is over, they may stick around for a little bit,” Blunt said. “She’s showing some leadership qualities, and I think that’s what I’ve been trying to push her to become, more of a leader by example.”
Lakeland went 8-15 last year, showing a great deal of improvement over its 2013-14 season, and the Lady Cavaliers are 4-3 already this season.