Southern Lee & Lee County Battle This Tuesday – Round I Preview
The Southern Lee Cavaliers and the Lee County Yellow Jackets will meet for the 1st time this Tuesday night and as usual, the meetings between these two will help shape the outcome in the Tri-County 3A Conference. Southern Lee has jumped out to a 2-game lead early in conference play with a 4-0 mark and sit atop the conference just shy of the half-way point. The Cavaliers can make a big statement with a win at Lee County – while the Yellow Jackets could tighten the conference up considerably with a win at home. Below is a look at the two teams and what they must do to win.
Southern Lee – Overall 8-9, Conference 4-0
About the Cavaliers – Southern Lee once again features a pair of guards that will compete with any in the league. Senior Se’Vion Clay is leading the Cavaliers as expected – scoring over 20 ppg in conference play – and supplying the leadership for Southern Lee. Backcourt mate Quashawn Williams has been steady all season lending scoring and ball handling for the Cavs when needed and helping supply the patented Cavalier defensive pressure that has long been a staple of the Southern Lee program. Head Coach Gaston Collins is relying on freshman Makyi Butler and junior Georian McDougald inside while Randall Upchurch and Ely-Jah Smith provide good defense and scoring when needed. Smith has proven to be a reckless defender and has sparked the Cavaliers with his energy and speed. Southern Lee has a shorter bench than normal and will only go 6-7 deep, but thus far, that has presented no problems for the Cavaliers.
For the Cavaliers to Win – Southern Lee will again need to dominate the backcourt to come away with a win against the Yellow Jackets. Look for Clay to use his upper body strength to take the Lee guards inside if Lee County goes man-to-man, and for Clay and Williams to spot up for 3s if the Yellow Jackets go zone. Southern Lee will test the Lee Co guards with pressure and look to force turnovers with full-court pressure at times, but the short bench will require the Cavs to pick and choose those times. Southern Lee will have to hold its own on the boards to win this one with Butler the main rebounder inside for Southern Lee. Clay rebounds well from the guard position and the rebound numbers will be key in this one.
Lee County – Overall 6-12, Conference 2-2
About the Yellow Jackets – It’s been a strange year for the Yellow Jackets. Lee County was nearly 10 games into the season before Coach Reggie Peace had the players from football to join the team. It was still a learning process for this team all the way up to Christmas and Lee County has played .500 ball since. Jarrian Hancock leads the Yellow Jackets in scoring and rebounding and must play well for the Yellow Jackets to win this one. Derran McKoy has been key inside for Lee County since joining the team and his free throws at Harnett Central were huge in picking up a road win. Lee County is the only league team with two road wins thus far – winning at Western Harnett and Harnett Central in their last two outings. Lee County features some streaky 3-point shooters that can change games in Nolan Brown, JT Conwell, Josh French, and Timmy Lett. Ball handling has been a challenge at times but point guard Josh French has started to settle in and take control in the Yellow Jacket backcourt.
For the Yellow Jackets to Win – Lee County will need a combination of several things to beat the Cavaliers. Lee County must take care of the ball and limit turnovers against the Cavalier pressure, rebound and shoot the 3. Lee is capable of all those – and handling the Cavalier pressure is the most important. Lee County has had times this year where scoring has been the challenge and the Yellow Jackets will need consistent scoring in this one to pick up a win. Colin and Landon Johnson have been steady additions since football with Landon Johnson, McKoy, and Hancock providing the main board work for the Yellow Jackets. The Yellow Jackets must also keep Clay in check and any defense that can make Clay give up the ball will be a good one.
- Most times these two get together the games are intense, and the players end up leaving it all on the floor. Lee County going 9-deep verses 6-7 for Southern Lee could be a factor and any foul trouble for either side will be key.
- Ball handling and turnover numbers so far this season favor the Cavaliers and the TO number will be one we watch. Josh French has improved significantly in the Yellow Jacket backcourt and he will be a key factor in this one. Look for Southern Lee to try force Lee County into turnovers with their defensive pressure.
- Experience – while the Cavaliers have two most experienced players in this rivalry with Clay and Williams, the Southern Lee frontcourt with Butler, Upchurch, and McDougald have seen few minutes in this rivalry. How this group handles the pressure of playing at Lee County will be key. Lee County has 5-6 players that have seen significant minutes in this rivalry.
- Rebounding – Jarrian Hancock (6’5”) is the best rebounder in this game and keeping Southern Lee off the boards will be key for Lee County. Landon Johnson has been a nice addition here and Derran McKoy has been good on the boards as well. Limiting Southern Lee to one shot will be key for Lee County. Butler had 13 boards in the Cavaliers outing against Harnett Central and a similar performance against Lee County may be needed.
Tuesday night’s game is scheduled for a 7:30 tip at Lee County and we look forward once again to seeing these two together on the floor. These games are usually entertaining – we include the fans, cheerleaders and students – and always fun to watch. The game will air on 105.5 FM – WFJA Sports and will stream online at: www.wfjawwgpradio.com. It promises to be a good one – Southern Lee @ Lee County – Tuesday night at 7:30 – Join Us!!