Saints beat Wakefield’s Warriors

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Jason Coulombe’s Nansemond-Suffolk basketball squad won their third straight game Monday night over visiting Tidewater Academy, 61-46.

The Saints jumped out to a 17-6 lead after the first period and that lead never dipped below six against the Warriors.

After an 0-4 start to the season the Saints have rolled off wins against Hampton Christian, Isle of Wight and Monday’s fairly comfortable win.

The game sounds like a pretty successful night to most NSA supporters; but not so for the head coach of the Saints.

&uot;We were terrible.

I was very disappointed in our defensive effort,&uot; said Coulombe.

&uot;We were able to force them into quite a few turnovers and we did some things relatively well, but we gave them way too many open shots and our team communication was nonexistent.&uot;

With a team of few returning veterans, Coulombe is putting very little blame on the players.

&uot;I’m not doing a very good job of coaching right now.

I’m not doing what I need to do to communicate to them how important it is to play hard every time out.&uot;

Some of those Tidewater turnovers, and good early shooting from the Saints, got NSA out to a quick lead.

A three-pointer from Matt Hamlet started the scoring for NSA and the Saints led 7-0 before Casey Richmond got Tidewater on the board about three minutes in.

Nearing the end of the period, Ryan Beale combined a steal, a save from the ball going out of bounds and a 60-foot outlet pass that found Hamlet ahead of the pack for a lay-in to put NSA up 14-4.

A three-pointer from Matt Davies finished the first period scoring, making it 17-6 NSA.

Good passing in NSA’s half-court offense paid off twice to start the next period.

Jess Cox found Hamlet curling to the basket and Hamlet converted the lay-up; on the next possession, Isaac Ballou passed over the top of a double team, leaping and dumping the ball down to Beale in the lane for an easy two.

From down 21-6, Tidewater worked their way back by switching to a half-court trap.

The move slowed down NSA’s scoring and the Warriors chipped back into the game, it was 25-16 NSA at the half.

Quinton Hellyer had two buckets in the period and Richmond scored eight in all in the half.

Hamlet’s seven points led the Saints.

Tidewater’s trapping defense kept NSA out of sorts early in the third.

The Warriors forced four NSA turnovers in the first three minutes and a steal and breakaway lay-up by Curtis Pittman closed the gap to 29-23 NSA.

A right-corner trey by sophomore Jim Hassell stopped the Tidewater run and the sides traded scores until NSA led 37-29 moving into the last minute of the third period.

With what was setting up to be a close fourth period, the Saints changed everything in that last minute.

After Reese Parker scored for TA, NSA worked the ball versus the TA zone, ending up with Matt Vincent kicking the ball out from the lane, finding Hassell, who drained another three.

TA committed a turnover on the inbounds pass, so with NSA again attacking the Warrior zone, Hamlet tossed the ball inside to Ballou, who went back outside for Cox and he hit a trey.

On the ensuing inbounds, Ballou swiped in for a steal and a lay-up, he was fouled and he finished the free throw.

Two free throws by Samuel Moore with :03 left stemmed the tide a bit, but NSA led 46-31.

With TA falling back into a tight zone to start the fourth period, NSA then invited the trap as the Saints held the ball for the opening 45 seconds.

The Warriors had to come out and defend near half-court, two quick passes ended with Ballou making a short jumper in the paint.

After a quiet first half, Ballou put up 13 of his game-high 17 points and got six of his seven rebounds in the second half.

Tidewater made one brief charge late in the game.

Trailing by 20, an three-point play on a fast break by Parker started the rally, but 11 down with just over two minutes to play was as close as TA got.

Parker led TA with 14 points.

Richmond and Moore also finished in double-digits with 10 points each.

Hellyer had six rebounds to lead the Warriors.

For the Saints other than Ballou, Hamlet finished with nine points and four assists.

Cox (8), Beale (6) and Hassell (6) were the next-highest scorers.

&uot;As long as we’re having to worry about how hard we’re playing, we can’t even get to talking about x’s and o’s,&uot; said Coulombe.

NSA is now off until after Christmas.

The Saints will be taking part in a three-day tournament in Newport News at Tabb High School beginning Dec. 27.