Warriors just too brave in 86-75 win

Published 12:00 am Sunday, January 25, 2004

Suffolk News-Herald

A true winning team is at its best under the highest pressure. Friday night, Nansemond River (NR) proved once again that they are victors in more ways than one in their 86-75 victory over visiting Indian River (IR) Friday night. After the Braves went on an 11-2 run to open the fourth quarter, cutting a lead that had once reached 11 down to one, NR buckled down, started forcing the Braves to miss their shots, and restarted the scoring machine that has carried them to the top of the Southeastern District.

Allen Townes and Antoine Page scored four points apiece in the run, which knocked a 60-50 lead down to 62-61 with 4:53 left in the game. Fred Spratley drove through the paint and was fouled hitting a layup. He swished the free throw, and NR called timeout with 4:45 left.


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Back in action, Carl Miller hit a jumper for IR, and Dennis Conley, who had scored 11 of his team’s 18 third-quarter points, hooked in a bucket from the right baseline. Page banked home another layup, and Spratley swished a pair of free throws with 4:07 on the clock.

Page hit another jumper, but the Braves seemingly magical shooting touch seemed to vanish afterward. Time and again, IR would take open jumpers or drive the paint, and the Warrior defense, sluggish through the first minutes of the quarter, started beating them to the ball. Without Keith Josey, who pulled down a game-leading 13 rebounds before fouling out midway through the quarter, Conley and Eric Joe yanked down four misses apiece, each ending the game with nine. Conley hit another one-hander with 3:34 to go, and Marquie Cooke nailed a free throw to put River ahead 72-67 with 3:21 to go.

Spratley scored at the three-minute mark, and IR called timeout. It didn’t help, as Jerome Burgess hit an off-balance three-pointer from the left side to up the lead back to 10. Miller and Cooke scored two points each, and Page and D.J. Bell scored to get within six with 1:42 on the clock.

After a timeout, Burgess tossed a bounce pass to a wide-open Cooke, who sauntered through the Brave defense for a layup. Lloyd Parker scored for IR, and Cooke collided with a Brave on a drive down the court, hurting his knee. Hardly able to put any weight on the leg, he still managed to swish a free throw for an 82-75 lead with just under a minute to go. IR missed two shots, and Cooke managed to steal the ball from a Brave with :22 left. He was fouled and swished both shots, and two more from Joe completed the Warriors’ scoring.

Cooke finished the game with a team-leading 27 points (10 in the final period). Conley came in with 20, Spratley with 17. The Warriors head to Deep Creek on Tuesday.

Lakeland also came out on top Friday to keep the Suffolk squads tied for first in the district, beating host Great Bridge 67-57. Eric Ruffin lead the Cavaliers with 13 points, and Mike Camp added seven. Lakeland hosts Hickory on Tuesday.