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The sports year in review, part one

January

In the midst of what turned into an undefeated season through the Southeastern District, Nansemond River fights back from a 15-point halftime deficit at Deep Creek to win, 77-67.

Vaughn Wilson and Andre Jones combine for 37 points in the second half and Wilson hits a go-ahead three to put NR up 64-61 with 2:57 left.

&uot;Yeah, that’s what I live for, for hitting big shots like that,&uot; said Wilson.

Two nights later, NR beats Philadelphia’s second-ranked school, Simon Gratz, in the Martin Luther King Jr. Classic in Virginia Beach.

Former Nansemond River basketball star Howard Frier is named as one of European pro basketball’s best players, being put on the ballot for the FIBA EuroCup All-Star Game.

At NR in 1992, Frier was the leading scorer on the Warriors’ state championship team.

After playing and graduating from the University of Colorado, Frier’s pro career took him to a number of teams in a number of countries.

For Estonia’s Ehitustooriist, Frier was the point guard on their ’05 championship team.

February

In King’s Fork second season, the Lady Bulldogs go all the way to the Eastern Region quarterfinals before losing at Hampton.

In their first round game, KF beat Norcom, 53-52.

Freshman Ta’shauna Rodgers scored 23 points including the game-winning lay-up.

The Lady Bulldogs’ only other losses of the season came in three games against Indian River.

KF won the city championship, going 4-0 versus NR and Lakeland.

KF spent all of January and February ranked in the top 10 in the Group AAA state poll.

Head coach Tim Goetz had a seven-player roster and five of the seven Lady Bulldogs were underclassmen.

NR’s Vaughn Wilson and Andre Jones and Lakeland’s Jaleel Nelson make up half of the Southeastern District’s first team.

Among Suffolk’s coaches, NR’s Nick Wright is named Defensive Player of the Year and KF’s Jamar Wertz is named Newcomer of the Year.

The Warriors fall one step short of making the state tournament, losing to Booker T. Washington in the Eastern Region semifinals.

NR goes undefeated through district play, notching their fifth straight regular season title.

March

Making his rookie debut as a high school tennis coach, 88-year-old Howard Mast takes over the reins of Nansemond River’s boys’ squad.

NR principal Thomas McLemore called Mast, founder of the Suffolk Tennis Association 49 years ago and a Mid-Atlantic Tennis Hall of Fame inductee in 1995, seeing if he could suggest someone who would be interested in coaching the team, Mast volunteered himself.

After playing their first baseball season entirely on the road, King’s Fork finally had a home field ready for the ’06 season.

&uot;Last year, we didn’t get home, often until 11:30 or midnight, two or three nights a week.

It was brutal…you lose a lot of sleep, which was tough on the kids,&uot; said coach J. B. Varney.

&uot;It takes some strong kids to get beat like we did last year and still love the game,&uot; said Varney.

In April, the Bulldogs would get their first baseball victory in program history, 11-1 over Green Run.

April

Nansemond-Suffolk grad Ashley Pierce is named Most Outstanding Player of the ODAC (Old Dominion Athletic Conference) softball tournament and Roanoke College wins the title.

In the semifinal win, Pierce hit two home runs, making 14 for the season and a single-season school record.

In the title game, Pierce drove in the game-winning run in the top of the seventh inning.

NSA’s boys’ lacrosse team scores six unanswered goals in the last eight minutes of the match to come back against rivals Cape Henry for a 16-13 win.

Bobby Flintoff’s five goals lead the Saints.

&uot;They showed a lot of character. They found an extra gear somehow,&uot; said NSA coach Trent Blythe, &uot;these guys showed an extraordinary will to win.&uot;

A week later, NSA went on the road and beat the no. 2-ranked team in the state, Covenant.

Nansemond River’s Spring Break Invitational baseball tournament is successful for all three Suffolk schools.

King’s Fork got their first win in the team’s one-and-a-half seasons.

Lakeland swept through Landstown, Dinwiddie and KF in group play to make it to the final game versus NR.

In the final, the Warriors got a home run by Tim Eure and a complete game by Will Hirsch to beat Lakeland, 3-1.