Cooke hits 2,000 in tough 75-64 victory

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, February 18, 2004

Suffolk News-Herald

Marquie Cooke became just the second player in Nansemond River history to score 2,000 career points on Wednesday night, hitting the two grand mark with a free throw with 4:50 left during his team’s 75-64 win over visiting Deep Creek in the opening round of the Southeastern District tournament.

Cooke, who also holds school records in steals (268) and assists (606), scored 31 points, ending with 2,005 – 109 away from Antoine Willie’s school record. He’s got at least two games to get there; the Warriors battle Indian River at 7:45 p.m. Friday night at Oscar Smith in the tournament semifinals, and, by winning their third consecutive regular season title, NR is guaranteed of a regional playoff berth.

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It was the highlight of a lackluster performance by the Warriors, who were missing the explosive offense that carried them to the title. The first quarter ended with the Hornets ahead 14-10 before the NR defense held them without a point for over four minutes as Cooke, Eric Joe, Keith Josey, Vaughn Wilson and Dennis Conley pumped seven quick points through the next. Creek got as close as 20-17, but Jerome Burgess knocked in five straight points, and he, Cooke, Josey, Joe and Conley led their squad on a 21-4 rush that gave them an insurmountable 43-25 lead midway through the third quarter.

Cooke opened the fourth with seven points in two minutes to reach the 1,998 mark, but he seemed nervous over the next few minutes, missing a layup and free throw. He swished a one-pointer with 5:30 to play, but missed the back end and the front end of his next trip to the line before swishing the milestone bucket, which won him a standing ovation from the crowd and high-fives from the entire Warrior bench. Josey led the game with 12 rebounds, and Fred Spratly had 10.

Lakeland also failed to come out of the gates quickly over at Oscar Smith, as the Cavaliers sloughed their way through a 51-34 over Hickory. Lakeland made just one of its first eight shots, ending the first quarter ahead 6-5 before Mark Plenty caught fire, dropping in five points in the first 2:35 of the second. He, Kenny Reid and Corey Davis (celebrating his 18th birthday) scored all but three of their team’s 21 first-half points.

The Cavalier defense kept the Hawks from taking off, holding Hickory to just six field goals in the first three quarters, time for Lakeland to run up a 38-20 lead. Plenty led the game with 16 points, and Reid finished with 10. The Cavaliers will face the winner of the Wednesday night’s Oscar Smith-Western Branch game, which was not completed at press time.