Lady Cavs ready to build on solid season

Published 11:08 pm Wednesday, November 23, 2016

The Lakeland High School girls’ basketball team is ready to improve on the 14-6 season from last year.

Last season the Lady Cavs enjoyed one of their best seasons in recent years. They finished with a loss to I.C. Norcom in the district semifinals.

Lakeland wants to build on that momentum.

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“We want to be as competitive as we possibly can this year,” coach Brandey Blunt said. “We want to play hard and practice harder. We are going to do whatever it takes. These girls have a lot of fight in them.”

Lakeland High School’s Kayla Barnes will be one of the returning players on the Lady Cavaliers basketball team this year. (File Photo)

Lakeland High School’s Kayla Barnes will be one of the returning players on the Lady Cavaliers basketball team this year. (File Photo)

The Lady Cavs will return a solid core this year.

Kayla Barnes returns as a solid scoring option. Senior forward Deja Freeman should also provide a viable scoring option for Lakeland. In the final game last season, she added 12 points and nine rebounds for the team.

The Lady Cavs will be without Makayla Dickens, the team’s leading scorer from last year, who decided to transfer to Princess Anne. Regardless, Blunt is confident that her team will continue to improve.

“I’m pretty confident with what we have returning,” Blunt said. “They are very competitive. I’m happy with the chemistry we have right now. The girls are close, not only on the court, but off the court, as well. I think that will show in our play. They play for each other, instead of with each other.”

Blunt is a firm believer in practicing hard. She believes that if her players practice as hard as they play that every game will be their best performance.

“You can’t slack in practice and just think you can cut a light switch on when you get out there,” she said. “If you want to be a dominant player, you have to practice being a dominant player. That’s what I want my girls to know.”

Blunt also knows that over the course of a season mistakes are going to be made, and she doesn’t want her players to be afraid to make mistakes. The mistake isn’t the important part, she said, but rather her players understanding how to learn from those mistakes.

Blunt expects her returning seniors to step up from a leadership standpoint, both on and off the court. Displaying good senior leadership will ultimately lead to underclassmen following the example being set for them, she said.

Despite having such a strong season last year, Blunt does not feel that there is any pressure on her team this year.

“We had a great season with a great group of girls last year,” she said. “We don’t feel any pressure to live up to the season we had last year. Last year’s team was pretty unique. Each season offers a fresh perspective, and this year we want to be as best we can be.”

The Lady Cavs remember the feeling they had after their conference semifinals lost last year to Norcom and they want to make sure that doesn’t happen again this year.

Their season tips off at Western Branch at 7:15 p.m. Nov. 29.