The Leemen ended their regular season the same way they started on a high note. Tuesday’s 102-69 away win versus Stuarts Draft finished the boy’s season with 18 wins and three (close heartbreaking) defeats. After our first playoff win against Stonewall I thought I would recap our season as we look ahead to a hopefully long postseason. Senior Jarvis Vaughn began the season with a 6’8 target on his back; the former VA 2A player of the year was trash talked, hacked at, and singled out the whole season by players, referees, and crowds. When Lee first played Stuarts Draft at home, Jarvis was ejected for two technicals that you have to imagine wouldn’t have been called except for the fact Jarvis is Jarvis. The truth about our team is we are the villain around here, crowds are huge when we play, we dunk on teams and our average score difference is 29 points. But like the “Detroit Bad Boys” of old or the Golden State Warriors of today, we embrace it, we play too silence crowds and dominate teams. When your team enjoys wins like we do and you are expected to win every night, you take losses very hard. Our first loss came on a Saturday afternoon at East Rockingham; Jarvis was suspended and without his composure and presence down low we fell in overtime to a team we had been leading till the last two minutes of the fourth quarter. Head Coach Terrell Micken’s didn’t sugar coat anything in the locker room after the game, he told them it should hurt, he stated that the perfect season was off the table, and he motivated them by telling the players to turn their frustration into effort. Just three days later the boys had the chance to show coach they taken what he said to heart, plus Jarvis was back to show East Rock that their luck had run out. Jarvis scored 17 and had double digit rebounds as we flew by East Rock at home 67-28. Jarvis reached a milestone very few high school players obtain, on January 20th versus Stonewall Jackson, when he hit his signature mid range float to score his 1,000th career point for Lee. Immediately he gave the game ball to his mother, received some applause, and then got back to business. Jarvis wasn’t the only player with a season to remember. Everette Castle went from a sporadic bench player on Lee’s third rotation to one of our most consistent scorers and re-bounders. He is blessed with an instinct to finish under the basket, when he throws a ball up no matter how covered you can assume it’ll result in two points. Jaheel Pettiford had a slower start to the season, I believe because he hadn’t become comfortable in a role. For the first half of games he played like a sharpshooter, which did not result in many positive possessions for Lee. Jaheel ended this season the best we have ever seen him, he is now an assist leader and with his pace he is the perfect player to throw the ball to in transition. Jayden Williams came into this season as our most consistent guard and he didn’t disappoint, leading the team in both steals and assists, another big year for him. Our new players showed they deserved to be part of the Lee basketball tradition throughout the year. Akedeon has the prettiest layups I have ever witnessed plus his pressure on defense makes him a great player to come off the bench and give valuable minutes. His best game was against Gap where he lead scoring with 22 points. Jalen Henderson's calm attitude and sharpshooting ability gave the Leemen a great starter who changes games in minutes when he has the hot hand. As Lee looks towards the playoffs it is hard not think about the possibility of a rematch with the nationally famous Gate City. Matt Mcclung has been on “Sports Center” seemingly once a week this season for some outrageous dunk and Staunton has been watching closely, waiting for the chance to humble them like we did last postseason with a win in the Semis. Friday night Lee blew past Stonewall in our first postseason game and will be looking for the same result against Wilson Memorial at home on Tuesday.
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