Patriot brothers defeat Saints

Published 9:51 am Sunday, December 7, 2008

Portsmouth Christian led throughout the final three quarters and took a hectic, fast-paced victory against visiting Nansemond-Suffolk on Saturday 77-64.

Curtis and Zach Fuhrmann led the Patriots. Curtis piled up 24 points, 14 rebounds and four steals. Zach had 18 points, eight rebounds and four assists.

The fast pace, in head coach Frankie Chatman’s second game in charge of the Saints, worked the NSA’s advantage for parts of the contest.

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The Saints fouled out three Patriot guards through the course of the second half. There were a couple stretches of play in which the Saints made brief runs to cut into the Patriot lead.

Overall though, the Patriots took advantage of the fast pace. Portsmouth Christian got to the free throw line 16 more times for what turned into a 16-point advantage and the Patriots forced 26 NSA turnovers.

Isaac Ballou, playing all 32 minutes, had 27 points and 12 rebounds for the Saints. Jim Hassell, fighting through a nasty cut above his right eye in the first quarter, then a cut on his knee in the third quarter, had 12 points, seven rebounds and six assists.

Nineteen seconds into the game, Hassell scored the first points of the game on a lay-up. Despite no whistle on the play, a few seconds later, play stopped and Hassell went to the bench with blood running down the side of his face and off his chin.

With one of NSA’s key players out for the next few minutes, Chatman wound up playing 10 Saints over the opening four minutes as he searched for a good combination. Portsmouth Christian built a 10-4 lead. Three straight baskets by Ballou, then two free throws by Harrison Spalding made it 12-12. The Patriots regained an 18-14 lead going to the second period.

The Fuhrmann brothers, already active troubling the Saints defensively, found their shooting touch during the second period. Curtis knocked down two three-pointers to help the Patriots take their lead to 33-20 with 2:50 left. Curtis scored nine points and Zach added seven points in the period.

One good NSA streak saw Patriot turnovers lead to quick scoring chances. Breon Willie made a three-pointer and Hassell scored on a rebound and put-back to make it 35-27 Patriots.

The Saint defense held on a few more Portsmouth Christian possessions, giving NSA chances to cut the lead more going into the half. Instead, the Saint offense went cold, then the Patriots scored four points in the last 40 seconds to take a 39-27 halftime edge.

Portsmouth Christian kept going in the third period, steadily adding to its lead until the Patriots had a 19-point lead, 58-39, late in the third period.

The Patriots still had a comfortable lead, 64-50, with 5:31 remaining in the game when foul trouble started to take a toll on the Patriots.

Mainly by holding the Patriots to two points over the next 2:51, the Saints cut the lead to as close as 66-60.

Ballou in the lane was NSA’s main offense. Ballou forced his way to the foul line and made 4 of 6 at the stripe, then Ballou scored a three-point play to make it 66-60 Patriots with 2:42 left.

Two empty trips for the Saints and five Patriot points turned the tide back in Portsmouth Christian’s favor and a 71-60 lead as the clock neared a minute to go was enough for the Patriots.

NSA (1-1, 0-0) plays at Surry on Tuesday evening.