Cavs basketball eager for the new year

Published 7:22 pm Saturday, November 26, 2016

The Lakeland High School boys’ basketball team is ready to tip off a new season starting this week.

After finishing 15-8 as a team last year, the team is hoping to improve even more. After the hard work put in during the offseason and preseason, Cavs coach Clint Wright is optimistic about this year’s team.

The team will not be returning graduated players Jamonte Ricks and Daquan Boyette, who averaged around 11 points per game apiece for the Cavs. Deonta Knight, who like Ricks and Boyette was a senior last year, averaged 14 points for the Cavs last year. Many will question where the scoring and production will come from this year, but Wright is confident that the team’s system will prevail.

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“We have a system in place, and it benefits the kind of players that we have,” Wright said. “I feel real confident that we will stay relevant. We are very eager and ready to play.”

“I believe in my teammates this year as much as I believed in them last year,” senior Devon Morris said. “All we have to do is work together as a team, and we should be efficient.”

Sophomore Keontae Boyette and senior De’Shaun Cooley are two guys expected to step into place for the seniors lost from last year’s team. Cooley is a forward who has played against some of the top competition at his position his previous three years. Morris will also add experience and a high basketball IQ as a four-year member of the team. The Cavs will also have newcomers getting varsity experience for the first time. Though there are guys that have been standing out for the team in practice, Wright is confident all 12 guys can be impactful this year.

“We lost some very good players,” Boyette said. “I feel like all of us have the mindset and potential to believe we will have another good season.”

Wright and the Cavs pride themselves on being well conditioned and believe if they are in peak condition, then there is nothing they can’t execute. Last year, Lakeland had a 10-game winning streak largely due to their conditioning.

“The win streak was attributed to the fact we were in peak condition,” Wright said. “Those guys knew the offense. We knew what we were running. Those are the byproducts of the culture we create every day at practice.”

Lakeland plans to get up about 70 to 80 shots per game. Wright wants his players to play without fear and be comfortable with the shots that they take.

The Cavs will open up at home Nov. 29 against Western Branch. Tip-off is at 7:15 p.m.