Saints hang on for 64-51 victory

Published 12:00 am Sunday, February 6, 2005

Suffolk News-Herald

With head coach Don Birmingham on the disabled list and assistant Rudy Copeland at the helm, huge nights from Kyle Jett and Adam Gillette led Nansemond-Suffolk Academy to a home TCIS win over Norfolk Christian on Friday night, 64-51.

Jett and Gillette scored 23 points apiece and Jett scored nine of NSA’s 11 first quarter points, including seven in the last three minutes of the period to lead the Saints to an 11-7 lead.

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NSA’s defense gave the Ambassadors trouble all night, and opened strong, holding Christian to 18.1 percent (2-for-11) shooting in the first period.

The Ambassadors rallied to take an 18-14 lead with 4:39 in the second thanks to a 9-0 run, but when a Gillette lay-in made it 20-18 NSA, the Ambassadors would not regain a lead for the rest of the evening. Powered by 11 Gillette points in the second quarter, NSA took a 25-20 lead going to the break.

The Saints closed the last 4:39 with an 11-2 run, which was fantastically punctuated in the closing seconds of the half.

With Christian attempting to get the last shot, Gillette stole an attempted pass into the Ambassador post with about five seconds left.

Gillette dribbled to mid-court, and then lobbed a pass ahead of the pack to Bryan Breedlove.

Breedlove caught the pass at full speed and without a dribble flipped up a running lay-in just as the horn sounded.

Two threes from Ryland Gwaltney and Jett gave NSA a 31-23 lead in the opening moments of the second half, and NSA continued controlling the tempo with a trapping zone that forced Christian into 15 turnovers for the game.

A Jack Wright cornerback-like interception on a 50-foot pass with 2:52 left quickly turned into a short jumper for Gillette on the offensive end, giving NSA a 40-25 lead.

NSA was unable to completely put away the Ambassadors, but still maintained at least a seven-point cushion throughout the final 10 minutes.

A four-point trip with 4:39 to go in the fourth thanks to a Gillette three-point play off a missed Jett free throw, made the score 50-38.

The Saints closed well, making six-of-six free throws in the final minute.

Gillette also recorded 10 rebounds for a double-double. Gwaltney added nine points, as well as five steals and five assists.

&uot;We got a lot of opportunities off our hard defense and press,&uot; said Jett.

&uot;It was a good win for Coach Rudy, for his first game as head coach.&uot;

The Saints take to the road next week with three games, first at Peninsula Catholic on Tuesday, and then at Norfolk Collegiate and Greenbrier Christian Thursday and Saturday.