Warriors learn quickly against Bruins

Published 10:30 pm Friday, December 5, 2008

Four Warrior starters scored in double figures and Nansemond River wound up winning a 35-point blowout over home-standing Western Branch on Friday night, but contrary to the final score, 62-27, the night was still largely a learning experience for Ed Young’s Warrior team.

“We have an inexperienced team trying to get experience,” said Young, mostly concerning the first half.

In the first two periods, the Warriors put a couple short spurts together, scoring eight straight points to take an 8-4 lead in the opening minutes, then stretching that lead to as much as 19-9 after Sam Hughes’ second three-pointer of the game with 7:00 left in the second period.

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There were also long dry spells for the Warriors however. Western Branch held the Warriors scoreless for the final three minutes before halftime and chipped a 25-12 lead down to 25-18 at halftime.

“We can’t come into a game and be sluggish,” said Dion Bivens. Bivens scored 12 of his game-high 16 points in the second half and is one of the few returning players with a healthy amount of varsity experience as the Warriors had eight seniors depart last season’s team.

The second half started on the slow side as well, at least offensively, for the Warriors. Nansemond River managed just two buckets in the first 3:30. A breakaway chance for the Warriors only resulted in a missed dunk by NR’s Morris Johnson, which led to a Bruin basket on the other end, making the score 29-20 NR and drawing a timeout and a heated huddle by Young.

The remaining four minutes of the third period was a Warrior run which was similar to Warrior teams of the past few seasons. Starting with back-to-back buckets in the paint by David Long, the Warriors scored 13 unanswered points before a Bruin score with 0:38 left in the period.

Nansemond River won the period 17-4 and took a 42-22 advantage to the final eight minutes. Bivens and Long scored six points each in the quarter.

The Warriors continued the mix of pressure defense and effective offense in the fourth. Nansemond River outscored the Bruins 37-9 after halftime.

“Coach told us we had to keep our defensive effort up,” said Bivens about the halftime talk. “He said he didn’t want (Western Branch) to score 30 points.”

“In the first half, we came out a little slack. We weren’t ready to play,” said Hughes, who finished with 10 points.

“We have to play hard from the jump. If we play King’s Fork like that, it’ll be a whole other game,” said Bivens.

“I was really happy with the second half after how dreadful the second quarter was,” said Young.

Along with his 16 points, Bivens added five rebounds and three assists. Shakor Sommers had 11 points and 10 rebounds. Long combined with Sommers inside, getting 10 points, 10 rebounds and four blocks. The only Warrior starter not to reach double-figure scoring was point guard Dontrell Silver, who contributed seven points, six assists and three steals. Nansemond River won the turnover category 24-11; in the second half, the margin was 13-3.

Nansemond River (2-0, 2-0) has its home opening game on Tuesday against Grassfield.