Warriors fall short on roadPublished 10:41pm Saturday, January 7, 2012
CHESAPEAKE—Oscar Smith held Nansemond River to two field goals in the final period and the Tigers snapped their three-game losing streak at the expense of River’s four-game winning streak with a 49-46 Southeastern District win Friday night.
Most of the way was an offensive struggle for the Warriors (9-2, 6-2). Missed lay-ups, both in transition and in half-court plays, plagued River all night.
On the Tiger end, the offense wasn’t much better but offensive rebounding and constant hustle wound up being just enough to make the difference.
“We were not focused to play. Once again, this was our biggest game of the year and we’re not focused to play, again,” said Nansmeond River head coach Ed Young.
River’s last road test in the Southeastern District ended in a 54-50 defeat at Great Bridge.
The Warriors played their game and had little problem scoring points in a win over Salem, winning two games against tough Baltimore-area foes in Maryland after Christmas, then getting back into Southeastern play with a 78-63 win over Western Branch earlier this week.
“It’s just frustrating to see us perform like this. We have guys who can’t make lay-ups. We tried six different defenses out there and couldn’t commit to any of them,” Young said.
The Warriors edged out a 10-8 lead through one quarter and a couple drives to the hoop by senior guard Shannon Evans seemed to give the Warriors a spark early in the second period.
After leading by five, though, the Warriors bogged down on offense again. The Tigers worked back within a point. A 40-foot shot at the horn for the half, coming on a scrambled Tiger possession in the closing seconds, put the hosts up 20-18 at the break.
Coming out of the locker room was the only time the Warrior offense looked like its normal self.
Junior forward Ed Drew made two buckets in the paint, giving River a 22-20 lead less than a minute into the third quarter.
Evans drained threes on back-to-back possessions. A couple trips later, Evans simply dribbled the ball over midcourt and pulled up from 25 feet out to hit another three for a 31-27 NR lead with 5:15 left in the period.
The Tigers stayed right with the Warriors and fought their way in front when River went without a field goal for the first 4:16 of the fourth period.
Drew banked in a jumper for a 42-41 Warrior edge before five straight Tiger points, which was good enough to keep Smith in front.
With the Warriors down 47-44, Jay Melendez rebounded an errant Evans three-pointer and went to the line with 3.8 seconds left, where he made both shots.
Smith’s Chris Williams answered by making both shots of a 1-and-1 with 2.6 seconds showing.
A running 35-foot shot by Evans, off the mark anyway, was whistled as coming a split-second after the final horn.
Evans led the Warriors with 19 points. Drew added 10 points.
“Basically, I say we have to win the rest of our games to win the district and hope someone else beats Great Bridge,” Young said.
The second Southeastern loss puts Nansemond River, pending Great Bridge’s game at Western Branch Friday night, two games behind the Wildcats.
The Warriors hit the road again for their next district contest, at Indian River on Tuesday night.