Finally a home game, but not a win
After four straight games away from home to start their season, Nansemond-Suffolk’s Lady Saints had their first home game, and a chance for their first victory of the season, Tuesday against Atlantic Shores.
For the second straight outing, NSA led at the end of the first half.
But NSA’s lead didn’t stand up as Atlantic Shores pitched a 15-0 shutout in the third quarter and the visitors came away with a 45-31 win.
The Lady Seahawks jumped out to an 8-2 lead in the opening four minutes as their patient ball movement and good outside shooting was impressive at the start.
NSA got going toward the end of the period.
The team’s two freshmen Alyssa Grigg and Grace Saunders, who were both in the starting lineup for head coach Kathleen Hotte, each connected for buckets and NSA was within two, at 8-6, by the end of the period.
AS’s scoring drought continued for the first three minutes of the second quarter while NSA’s shooters found their outside range.
The Lady Saints tied it on Jenna Starkey’s 17-foot baseline jumper and on their next possession NSA took the lead when Sarah Daniel hit three from the left wing.
NSA kept the rally going as Saunders hit a turnaround jumper in the lane, making it 13-8 NSA with 5:16 before the half.
AS scored the next six points to take the lead again, but NSA went back in front when Starkey connected on a pair of free throws, making it 17-16 NSA with 1:47 left.
Another bucket by Saunders, this time off an offensive rebound, and a jumper by Christine Standhal, kept NSA in front at the half, 21-18.
In the opening two minutes of the second half the Lady Seahawks drained three jump shots and took the lead.
The Lady Seahawks also had a renewed energy on the boards at both end of the floor.
After the rebounds were about even in the first half, 16-14 for AS, AS outrebounded NSA 23-6 in the second half.
Now down 33-21, the Lady Saints got a bucket by Daniel in the first minute of the fourth period, and that’s all it seemingly took for the momentum to change.
Carly Edwards followed up Daniel’s score with a steal and a fast break.
Edwards was fouled and made one of the free throws.
After both sides traded a couple scoreless trips, Ashley Anderson made a 15-foot jumper and on AS’s ensuing trip down the court, Starkey swiped a pass and broke away by herself for a lay-up, making it 33-28 with 5:46 to go.
So despite the terrible third period, the Lady Saints still had a good chance.
NSA’s defense continued to make plays, mainly with Starkey hassling the AS guards.
Starkey blocked a three-point shot on one possession and as the clock neared four minutes Starkey got another steal, took it in for a lay-up, and this timed was fouled on the shot.
She made the free throw, making it 35-31 AS with 3:59 left.
That was as close as NSA got as again when they needed them, the Lady Seahawks began knocking down deep jump shots.
An AS three-pointer with 1:57 left, making it 41-31, was the critical blow to NSA’s comeback effort.
Starkey was NSA’s high scorer with nine points, she also had six steals and three assists.
Saunders finished with eight points and seven rebounds.
&uot;We only have one returning player (Starkey),&uot; said Hotte, &uot;so we’re a very young team.
We’re really a team of rising JV players.&uot;
&uot;This is definitely a rebuilding year but every game we’re improving on something, whether it be rebounding, shooting, running our offense or playing defense the way we need to.
&uot;The positive things that we’re doing is what we’re trying to express to them.
We’re trying to keep them excited, which is tough with the losses.&uot;
The Lady Saints go right back out on the road this weekend with a two-game road trip to Richmond.
On Friday night, NSA plays at Richmond Collegiate and Saturday afternoon, they play at St. Gertrude’s.