Warriors lose perfect recordPublished 7:04pm Saturday, December 15, 2012
Nansemond River High School was the setting for a Friday night showdown between two basketball teams with perfect records, and the only guarantee was that one record would be tarnished.
After striking first, the Nansemond River Warriors were ultimately found wanting against the Great Bridge Wildcats, losing 66-48.
“Well, my worst fears came true,” NR head coach Ed Young said. “I just didn’t think we’re disciplined enough to play that team right now.”
“We knew that coming in they’re the best team in the district,” he said. “We just wanted to see if we can match that or maybe exceed it.”
Initially, the Warriors looked like they might own the night, as junior guard Devon Oakley scored the first points of the game on a breakaway dunk and the River Rowdies helped create a raucous atmosphere for the game. Nansemond River held the lead for most of the first quarter, taking a 12-11 advantage into the second.
Then the Wildcats outscored the home team in the second quarter 22-11.
“We kind of smacked them in the face early, but they didn’t flinch, and then they hit us, and we flinched,” Young said. “That’s kind of how you look at it.”
The Warriors trailed by 16 at one point in the third quarter, but later went on a run, fueled, in part, by strong play from sophomore forward/guard Scott Spencer. But the Warriors were their own worst enemy.
“The disheartening thing is when we made our run in that second half, got the ball and came within six points, we got right out of character and we turned it over, I think, three straight times,” Young said. “And they went and scored on all three of them. That killed us right there.”
Young noted a couple of Wildcats players who helped power Great Bridge to 7-0 on the season, including junior guard Marcus Evans.
“Evans, I think, showed why he’s the best player in the district,” Young said. “His average is like 18 or 19 (points per game). He had 16, but he just controlled the tempo for them so well. We had Kendric Washington on him, and I think Kendric did as good a job as you can do on him.”
“Other people scored because of Evans,” Young said. “And the big, big, big factor was this Ferguson kid off the bench. Aaron Ferguson, transfer from Deep Creek, had his career-high 20 points.”
Young could not help but point out that without Ferguson’s contribution, NR would have won by two.
“(The) 18-point loss is our worst loss in two years,” Young said. “The last time we lost this bad, Great Bridge beat us 68-48.”
Contributing to this was abysmal shooting as the Warriors scored on only 29 percent of their shots from the field, going 16 for 56. NR also had 23 turnovers to Great Bridge’s 15.
Senior forward Ed Drew, who had typically been putting up a double-doubles, had only five points on 1-for-10 shooting with seven rebounds.
Oakley also struggled, going 3-for-10 for eight points, six rebounds, two assists and two steals.
“Devon wasn’t himself,” Young said. “He’s been battling sickness the last two days in practice. He’s been limited in reps.”
The only real bright spot for NR was Scott Spencer, who came off the bench and had 12 of his team-leading 16 points in the second half. He had seven rebounds, three assists, three blocks, four steals, but also five turnovers.
“He’s still growing in his game, but he was the only energizer we had, basically, in the game and off the bench,” Young said. “We got a team that relies on three or four guys to score double figures. He was the only one.”
Nansemond River (5-1, 5-1) will head to Chesapeake to face Western Branch on Tuesday for another tough district battle.