Can the Warriors keep winning?

Published 12:00 am Monday, December 1, 2003

Suffolk News-Herald

Winning in Southeastern District competition hasn’t been much of a problem for the Nansemond River boys basketball team the past two seasons. The Warriors have only lost one regular-season game in the past two years, a defeat to Lakeland last year that NRHS proved a fluke by annihilating the Cavaliers in a rematch later in the season.

After the season and district tournament ends, though, things tend to get rocky for the River boys. They haven’t made it to the regional finals for the past two season, suffering a one-point loss to Heritage in the 2001-02 quarterfinals and falling to Hampton on a last-second layup in the semis last year.

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So what can we as Suffolk caging fans expect from the team that won its first Southeastern District tournament title last season and has put entries on the &uot;Southeastern District regular season champions&uot; on the banner that hangs in the Warrior gym for the past two years? Coach Franklin Chatman can’t say.

&uot;I can’t promise that we’ll win (the district or tournament title) again,&uot; he says, &uot;but I can say that the kids have been working hard. They see this as an opportunity to do well for another season. This is the biggest team that I’ve ever coached.&uot;

Although Marquie Cooke’s role on his team has been the personification of visibility for at least a year (and maybe two, depending on one’s point of view), players such as himself, Dennis Conley, Fred Spratley, Justin Sorensen, and the rest of the Warrior seniors now have to take on the job of leadership.

&uot;I feel like I’ve always been a leader,&uot; said Cooke, who recently signed to attend Virginia Tech in the fall of 2004. &uot;I always try to get my teammates to play as one unit, and work as a team. All we want to do is win a state title.&uot; After averaging 25 points per game last season, Cooke hopes to up the number to 40.