Warriors hold on for win

Published 11:16pm Friday, December 21, 2012

Nansemond River’s boys’ basketball team blew a game-long lead over Norview in the fourth quarter on Thursday, but clutch free throws from Ed Drew and Scott Spencer led to 63-62 nail-biting win at home.

Warriors head coach Ed Young was happy to get the victory, but displeased with his team’s impatience, prolific turnovers and foul-heavy play.

Nansemond River senior forward Ed Drew is fouled on this shot attempt with 3.3 seconds remaining, sending him to the line where he hit the go-ahead free throw to beat visiting Norview, 63-62, on Thursday night.

“We let them back in the game,” he said. “The big thing was we were fouling too much.”

The slide began in the second quarter, when the Warriors had a healthy lead, but the starters were racking up fouls, and the Pilots went 8-of-9 from the free throw line.

“We had four starters sitting the last three minutes of the second quarter, and then those same four starters sat the first few minutes of the fourth quarter,” Young said. “And they made their run.”

The fourth quarter was nothing short of a roller coaster, with the Warriors starting out on top 49-43. With 6:17 remaining, Norview tied it at 51 off a three-point play. Nearly 30 seconds later the Pilots got their first lead off a three-pointer, 54-51.

They maintained that margin until 56-53, when NR junior guard Devon Oakley responded with a three-point play of his own to knot the game at 56. A free throw from sophomore swingman Scott Spencer gave the Warriors back the lead that was again relinquished moments later.

However, Oakley, who only had eight points for the game, responded a second time to make it 59-58, Nansemond River. Unfortunately, he fouled out on the next play, and Norview hit both ensuing free throws to lead 60-59 with 2:49 remaining. Another NR turnover and a score extended the lead back to three.

Then, Drew and Spencer went to work at the line. With 1:02 to play, Drew hit 1-of-2 to make it 62-60. With 46.8 seconds remaining, Spencer was fouled on an inbounds pass, facing the opportunity to tie the game up.

“What was going through my head was, ‘To be a good player, you have to be clutch,’” he said. “And I want to be a good player, so I practice all the time at the gym, pretend it’s two seconds left, I’m on the free throw line and just try to be a clutch, key player for the team.”

He calmly hit both free throws in his first varsity start.

NR regained possession of the ball, and Drew was fouled on a shot attempt under the basket with 3.3 seconds to go.

“I was like, ‘Eh, no pressure. Remain hungry and humble,’” he said. “So, just took my time, ignore everything, just me, myself and just do my same rhythm, hit it.”

He hit the first of two free throws, and the River Rowdies roared. The Pilots turned over the ball two seconds later to remove any chance of a last-gasp shot.

Drew scored 13 of his 17 points in the second half and had 13 rebounds and three blocks. Spencer had 10 points, 10 rebounds, five steals and five blocks.

The Warriors were led in scoring by junior point guard Khalil Carroll with 18 points, and senior forward Kendric Washington contributed 11.

“We won,” Young said. “I reminded the kids, ‘Good job,’ because it could have been a lot worse.”

“We had 33 turnovers and won the game,” he said. “I think (Norview’s) downfall was they shot too many threes.”

The Pilots went 6-of-24 from behind the arc. The Warriors out-rebounded them 53-41.

Young expects Nansemond River (7-1, 6-1) to be in for a real challenge as it heads to Pinehurst, N.C., for the 11th Annual Holiday in the Pines Tournament. The team will play three games in three days, the first being on Thursday against Richmond Senior High School.

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