Warriors ground Eagles, 81-73

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, February 25, 2004

Suffolk News-Herald

Kenedra Davis knew it was going to happen.

The Nansemond River senior and co-captain of the cheerleading squad recognized exactly what was going to happen in her school’s regional tournament-opening battle with visiting Landstown in boys basketball action Monday night.


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&uot;They’re going to win by eight!&uot; Davis said at halftime. Her classmates had already charged to a 42-37 lead over the visiting Eagles, and their defense had kept the Virginia Beach school from scoring for minutes at a time.

In the second half, the Warriors turned Davis’ words to law, racking up an 81-73 victory. But the cheerer wasn’t surprised.

&uot;I’m a psychic!&uot; she said. &uot;Cheerleaders just know these things! It’s a senior privlidge. I would have been hurt if we’d lost, but we’re going all the way.&uot;

Keith Josey insured that the squad would at least reach the playoffs, scoring a double-double with 13 points and a game-leading 12 rebounds. Marquie Cooke led all scorers with 21 points (putting him 35 away from Antoine Willie’s school record) and Vaughn Wilson had 16.

The Eagles charged to an 8-3 lead in the first 1:40, but it would be their only real advantage of the night. Dennis Conley swished a pair of free throws and Wilson his first of four three-pointers to tie the score, and another three-pointer gave the Warriors an 11-10 lead with five minutes to play in the quarter. Landstown wouldn’t regain the lead.

Cooke scored his first points of the night, and he, Josey, Conley and Wilson closed the period with a 13-8 run that gave them a 21-18 lead a minute into the second quarter. Theo Baker got Landstown to within one with a four-point play, but the Warrior defense kept the Eagles at bay for nearly three and a half minutes.

Meanwhile, Fred Spratley, Cooke and Josey dropped in eight straight to go up, 31-22. The game went back and forth until a pair of steals allowed Landstown to score six points in 22 seconds, ending the half down by five.

The River defense flared again in the third quarter, holding Landstown to just four field goals. While Josey outrebounded several taller Eagles, his teammates racked up 16 points for a 58-45 lead. &uot;Our main goal was to keep them taking just one shot,&uot; Josey said. &uot;We couldn’t let them get offensive rebounds. I used my body to push them out of the way and go where I wanted them to go.&uot;

The fourth quarter was remarkably even, as Wilson hit a pair of three-pointers to give his team a 73-61 lead with 1:27 to go before the Eagles swished three-pointers in the final minute to prove Davis correct.

&uot;I was feeling it,&uot; Wilson said. &uot;Marquie always keeps his head up and gets me the ball, and I got the open shot. Everybody thinks we’re a one-man team, but we all stepped up and played.&uot; Cooke also led the game in assists and steals, with seven and six, respectively.

Tonight, the Warriors host Maury in the quarterfinals. Last season, Hampton beat them in the quarters on a last-second layup. This time, coach Franklin Chatman wants to see his team go to the semis for the first time in his five-year tenure. &uot;We just want to play our hardest and let the chips fall where they may,&uot; he said.

In other local basketball action, Lakeland fell in its first regional tournament game Monday, 64-61 to Green Run at Indian River.