Playoff time: Local teams in line to advance

Published 5:23 pm Tuesday, February 21, 2023

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By Matthew Hatfield

Contributing writer

Winter sports are winding down and spring sports are almost here. With that, basketball playoff action takes center stage across the sports landscape with several boys and girls teams from the city of Suffolk representing on the quest for a championship.

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Lakeland boys drop double OT heart-breaker

Costly, unforced turnovers and crucial moments proved to be the undoing of the Lakeland Cavaliers in its opening round Region 3A Tournament match at Colonial Heights Monday, Feb. 20.

Despite missing two key guards – one due to pneumonia and another because of a broken bone in his hand – the ninth-seeded Cavs were able to extend the road postseason tilt beyond the customary 32 minutes of regulation to a pair of overtime sessions. It is there that Colonial Heights outlasted Lakeland, 73-71.

“Hat’s off to Colonial Heights,” Lakeland head coach Clint Wright Sr. said. “They did what they needed to do.”

Senior Ashton Holland-Lane posted a double-double for Lakeland in the loss with 24 points and 12 rebounds to go with four blocks.  Junior guard Jaylun Boone finished with 22 points.

King’s Fork boys close in on state berth

The King’s Fork boys won a share of the Class 4 state championship in 2019-20 and last season reached the state semis.  By beating eighth-seeded Manor 76-45 in the regional quarterfinals Monday, Feb. 20, the Bulldogs are now 19-3 overall and one win away from a return to the state playoffs.

King’s Fork led 17-8 after one quarter of play and 35-16 by half-time. They didn’t let up in the third period, outscoring Manor 30-17 to lead it by 32 points – 65-33 – entering the final stanza.

Sophomore Adarius Boston had a team-best 18 points for the Bulldogs, while senior guard Sam Brannen chipped in 15.

King’s Fork plays host to fifth-seeded Great Bridge, which held off fourth-seeded Churchland 72-67 in overtime, in the Region 4A tournament semifinals.

Lakeland girls advance in Region 3A

The Lakeland girls won their opening round Region 3A Tournament matchup against Southampton, 87-21 Monday, Feb. 20. Janae Carter led the way with 20 points and seven steals. Three others reached double-figure points with Jaelyn Brown adding 18 points, Nyeshia Savage recording a double-double with 18 points and 10 rebounds, and Ja’Najah Artis almost tallying a triple-double with 16 points, 10 assists and seven steals.

To reach the regional semifinals at the Norfolk Scope Saturday, Feb. 25, the fourth-seeded Lady Cavs must vanquish their next opponents.

Last year, Lakeland eliminated Lake Taylor – 55-36 – in the regional semifinals on their way to the Region 3A crown.

Also still competing

Also still alive in region basketball tourney action are the Nansemond River boys and King’s Fork girls.

Nansemond River’s boys are 14-7 overall and open the Region 5B Tournament against third-seeded Maury at Norview High School in Norfolk. If victorious, the Warriors would move on to the Norfolk Scope against second-seeded Kecoughtan in the regional semifinals Friday, Feb. 24.

Ironically enough, Nansemond River won its last two playoff encounters against both Maury and Kecoughtan.  The Warriors beat Kecoughtan 64-61 in overtime in a Region 5A quarterfinal held at Green Run High in Virginia Beach back in 2019 to reach the semifinals at Scope.  In 2012, Nansemond River cruised past Maury 72-49 in a first round regional clash.

The King’s Fork girls, who won the VHSL Class 4 state championship last winter, will have to beat two teams with better overall records in order to return to the state playoffs.  In the regional quarterfinals, the fifth-seeded Lady Bulldogs at 17-5 overall face fourth-seeded Jamestown (18-4). A win would likely set up a showdown at top-seeded Manor, which enters the tourney at 20-4 overall, including 19-3 in ratings scale games. 

King’s Fork Girls Indoor Track Team Turning Heads:

Basketball isn’t the only sport crowning winners this winter.  The King’s Fork girls indoor track and field team recently finished in first place with a score of 101 points to capture the Region 4A Championship. Leading the way with 31 points over four events was Deja Ward.

Additionally, a new school-record was set at the championship in the 4×400 meter relay with a time of 4:10.54 by the quartet of Andrea Watkins, Taylor Jennings-Ward, Azariah Taylor and Zayre Floyd.

King’s Fork squad now travels to Liberty University this Sunday, Feb. 26 to compete at the state championships.