River, Lakeland win in Fall Ball battles

Published 12:00 am Saturday, October 8, 2005

Lakeland and Nansemond River both claimed Fall Ball victories Wednesday night at Nansemond River with Lakeland pulling away in the second half for a 54-35 win over Wilson and the Warriors fighting off Hickory late by the score of 45-39.

Lakeland trailed 23-16 late in the first half, but the last minute of the half saw a change that would prove key for the rest of the Cavaliers’ night.

Putting on full court defense after a Darren Copeland bucket, the hectic pressure forced two Wilson turnovers in the final minute before the half.

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Eric Devore converted one steal into a lay-up and Copeland hit a 17-foot jumper after another Cavalier steal.

The rally still left Lakeland one point short at the half, 23-22, but the second half would be more of the same. Holding the Presidents to 12 points in the half, Lakeland steadily opened a bigger and bigger lead.

Five straight Mario Hunter points gave Lakeland a 31-27 lead with about 13 minutes remaining, a Jaleel Nelson rebound and jumper in the lane pushed the advantage to 36-28 with just over 10 minutes to go and a Voyland Cooke steal and 60-foot football pass to Nelson for a breakaway lay-up made the score 43-33 Lakeland with 4:50 in the game.

Nine different Cavaliers scored in the second half.

Copeland was the leading scorer with 13 points and Nelson added 10, all after halftime.

In the late game, Andre Jones scored 10 points within the opening 9:30 of the second half as River took a 20-19 halftime lead and pulled away just enough from the Hawks.

Hickory remained in the game from behind the arc, making six three-pointers as a team, three in each half. The Hawks led 14-8 midway through the first half before River’s defense held Hickory scoreless for nearly seven minutes, gaining a 17-14 lead during that time.

After the break, Jones took over, at one stretch scoring seven consecutive points, with a three-pointer from the left wing, followed by 4-for-5 shooting during two trips to the foul line.

Jones’s solo rally gave River a 34-26 lead with 10:30 to play.

Hickory remained close, not allowing River to build any more than a nine-point advantage, but Vaughan Wilson’s free throw shooting (5-for-6 in the last two minutes of play) was enough to seal the Warrior win.

Trailing 39-34 with just under two minutes to go, Hickory had one last chance to pull within one possession.

A Warrior turnover resulted in a Hawk fast break, but a Hawk lay-up was waved off as Wilson stood his ground in the lane, taking a charge that sent him crashing to the floor.

Jones finished with 18 points and six boards and Wilson had 11 points.