Warriors within a game of title

Published 12:00 am Friday, February 21, 2003

Nansemond River 81, Oscar Smith 64

Marquie Cooke and Alvester Franklin scored 20 points apiece and Latron Demiel had 18 as Nansemond River (NR) High School took its final step toward its first Southeastern district tournament crown since 1996 Thursday evening, defeating host Oscar Smith (OS) 81-64 in the tournament’s semifinals. After the Tigers kept the game close for the first three quarters, the Warriors exploded for 16 points in the first four minutes of the fourth quarter (they’d scored 17 points in the entire first period) to put the game away.

After Cooke, Franklin and Demiel rattled off seven consecutive points to give their team a 7-2 lead in the first two minutes of the game, Kevin Worsley and Dexter Manley knocked in four points each to tie things at 10, and the Tigers grabbed a 15-13 lead on five points from R.J. Douglas. Franklin and Dennis Conley scored to put the Warriors back up, but a free throw by Tommy Lawrence got OS to within 17-16 as the quarter ended.


Email newsletter signup

Cooke and Fred Spratley (who finished the night with 10 points) popped in seven consecutive points to open the second quarter, but Manley, Worsley and Douglas quickly knocked the advantage back down to 26-22. Douglas and Lawrence scored four points in 30 seconds to get as close as 31-29 with under a minute to play, but Demiel banked home a pair of breakaway goals to end the half up by six.

In the third quarter, the Warriors started to pull away. They maintained the six-point advantage for the first four minutes, and a three-point play by Cooke gave them a 46-37 lead with 3:25 left. Douglas hit his third three-pointer of the game, but Dominic Strand and Franklin scored four points, and Cooke swished a pair of free throws to give River a 54-44 advantage to open the last period.

The scoring spree began just under two minutes into the quarter. Franklin hit a jumper for a 60-48 lead, and he and Keith Josey scored four more points for a 64-50 advantage. Worsley sank a free throw, but Demiel hit a jumper and Cooke dropped in a pair of layups for a 70-51 lead, and the Tigers never got closer than 16.

River will play in the tournament final against Western Branch at 7:30 p.m. tonight at Oscar Smith.

Western Branch 57, Lakeland 50

Eric Winbourne burned the Lakeland defense for 28 points, 16 of which came in the fourth quarter, as Western Branch came from behind to defeat the Cavaliers 57-50 in the other semifinal game, denying an all-Suffolk finale.

After the fourth quarter began with Lakeland ahead 36-33, Winbourne tied the score with a three-pointer 25 seconds into the period. Marcus Artis and Kenneth Reid scored to put Lakeland back on top, but Winbourne scored five points in 25 seconds to go ahead, and he, Vince Hall and Robby Goodwin rattled in six consecutive points for a 47-42 lead with three minutes left.

Reid sank a jumper from the left side, but Hall snuck past the Cavalier defense for a layup and Winbourne put in six more points for a 55-46 lead with 55 seconds left, and the Cavaliers were unable to recover.