The boys’ varsity basketball team added another win to its record Friday night, improving to 7-8 on the season and 4-2 in district play. The team defeated Haines City High School, 58-46.
“In the second half, I thought we did a good job on defense,” said Head Coach Deron Collins. “We held them to 21 points.”
At the end of the first quarter, Lakeland was down 10-12 but with 5:42 left in the second quarter, they evened the score at 16.
Lakeland sank a foul shot to go up 17-16 and would hold the lead all the way to the final buzzer.
Lakeland turned the ball over, which the Hornets converted into a three-pointer. The Dreadnaughts responded with a three-pointer of their own.
Raheeme Dumas, senior would later rebound and assist to Jalen Stevenson to make the score 24-19. Haines City retaliated by sinking two foul shots to bring it to 24-21. Stevenson is a junior. The Hornets’ Oshey Vital, junior, later followed with a lay up to bring the score to 24-23. At the end of the second quarter, Dumas drove down the court and worked his way through two defenders to sink a basket, bringing it to 28-25 at the half.
Ian Bacon, senior, started the third quarter with a defensive rebound, followed by a three-pointer. On the next Lakeland possession, Bacon sank another basket for two points, bringing the score to 33-25. Bacon and Stevenson combined for 13 points in the third quarter. At the buzzer, Haines City’s Jarrod Brown hit a three-pointer, making it 43-40.
The fourth quarter highlighted the teamwork between Dumas and Stevenson. On three separate plays, Stevenson scored off assists from Dumas.
“Raheeme [Dumas] and Jalen [Stevenson] really did a good job tonight,” Collins said. “Jalen did a great job in the post.”
Haines City went to the full court press, attempting to apply pressure to the Dreadnaughts, but Lakeland handled it with ease, leading to multiple lay ups. With 4:47 remaining, Lakeland led the game 49-42. Dumas had three baskets, bringing the score to 55-44 with 2:50 left to play. Haines City’s Akeem Martinez accounted for the Hornets’ two additional points.
Senior Eric Moody would grab the next rebound, and assisted to Stevenson for two more points. With 1:44 remaining, Haines City put in a fresh five and Lakeland proceeded to hold the ball to run out the clock. One free throw is all that would be put up to finish off the game, 58-46.
While he said it might not always be pretty, Collins was happy to get the win.
“We’re still struggling rebounding and in transition, both offensively and defensively,” Collins said. With that said, he was proud of his players.
“Those two [Dumas and Stevenson] did a lot tonight,” he said, “and I have to say he may not have had a lot of points on the board but Kyle Kirby did a great job defensively.” Kirby accounted for many of the team’s rebounds on the night.
Stevenson said his goals for the season are to, ”get better every week; get better rebounding-wise and better teamwork wise.” He explained that the teamwork could be more natural. “You don’t want to think twice about whether or not you give the ball to another player.”
Dumas led the team with 18 points and seven assists. Absent on the court tonight was Jadrian Clark, who will be eligible to play January 24 versus Lake Region, after losing his battle with the FHSAA regarding eligibility on the year.
Lakeland will be in action again at home on Tuesday, facing off against district rival Bartow High school. Note: The junior varsity team improved its’ undefeated record to 10-0, with a win over Haines City.