Nansemond River entertains near-capacity crowd
Vaughn Wilson’s 23 points and Andre Jones’s 21 points carried Nansemond River past Deep Creek, 69-61, Thursday night in front of a near-capacity crowd at Nansemond River.
Coming in to the game with a 4-1 district mark, the Hornets matched River’s intensity and tempo for most of the night before the Warriors experience showed through down the stretch.
In the last two minutes, River outscored Creek 10-2, breaking a tie at 59.
It was the Hornet fans who were loud to start as Creek got out to a 10-4 lead in the first 3:55 and a 17-12 advantage at the end of the first period.
DC was confident early on, with 6’8” Michael Scott scoring eight first quarter points and the Hornets making a team effort to slow River’s fast break chances.
“I just think we were over-excited,” said Warrior coach Ed Young, “sometimes that happens when you’re playing a team you know is a good team.”
The second period gave River’s crowd their turn as repeated Nick Wright blocked shots became the main defensive force for the Warriors and River worked their way back, tying the game at 24 on Wright’s put back on an offensive board.
After a Hornet score, Wilson hit River’s first three-pointer of the game, putting River ahead for the first time, 27-26 with 1:49 before the half.
On transition after a DC miss, Wilson pulled up on the left wing and drilled another three with just over a minute to go.
The Warriors went to the half with a 32-27 lead; Wilson scored 14 in the half, Wright had seven blocks and six rebounds.
The physical play on the court matched the intensity in the stands as River built a 40-33 lead midway through the third period with Jones scoring five straight River points.
The Hornets fought back, tying the score at 42 and then taking a 44-42 lead as a string of four straight Warrior possessions ended in turnovers, allowing DC to make their run.
Wilson’s third three of the night opened the fourth quarter scoring, trimming DC’s lead to 48-47 with 6:34 to go.
Jonathan Simpson forced a jump ball on DC’s ensuing possession, returning the ball to River; and Mark Brown’s lay up returned the lead to River.
Jones scored eight of the next 10 River points, keeping River even with the Hornets.
Jones’s dunk on a fast break made it 51-51, his spin move in the lane and a lay up made it 53-52 NR, and another Jones lay up finished a frantic sequence of action at both ends of the floor, making it 59-56 NR.
A Hornet three-point play tied it at 59 as the clock went under two minutes.
Brown made two free throws at the 1:41 mark and after a Hornet miss, Jones again drove the lane and finished with an acrobatic lay up, putting River up 63-59 with 1:20 to go.
From there, Wilson and Wright combined to knock in six-of-eight free throws to finish off the Hornets.
“It was a huge, huge game,” said Jones.
“Tonight was a big game for us,” said Wilson, “it gives us a two game cushion over the second and third place teams now.”
Along with Wilson’s 23 and Jones’s 21, Wright finished with 14 rebounds, 10 blocks and nine points.
Brown added 12 points and five boards.
NR (7-0, 6-0) now travels to Lewes, Delaware to play three games against nationwide competition in the Bayball Classic.
The Warriors will be in Lewes from Dec. 27-30.
“There’s going to be a lot of competition.
We’re going to go there and see how good we really are,” said Jones.
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