Indian River nips Lady Warriors by two

Published 9:53 pm Wednesday, December 17, 2008

CHESAPEAKE — In a showdown of the last two undefeated girls basketball squads in the Southeastern District on Tuesday night at Indian River, the host Lady Braves hung on to what was a 10-point lead with 2:50 remaining to defeat Nansemond River 56-54.

NR’s Andrea Jones, who finished with 11 points and four assists on the night, had the last chance for the Lady Warriors to draw even.

With IR up 56-53 and the final seconds running out, Jones was fouled on a 28-foot shot attempt with 2.3 seconds left.

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Having to make all three shots to tie the game, Jones missed the first, made the second, then missed the third on purpose. NR couldn’t grab the offensive rebound and get one final shot.

In the opening minutes, the Lady Warriors were in rhythm from beyond the three-point arc with Jones making two treys to help NR out to a 10-6 lead.

Tanisha Brown, a reserve guard for the Lady Warriors, picked up the slack a couple minutes later, making three free throws after being fouled on a three-pointer, then draining a trey to make it 16-12 NR. NR led 19-17 at the end of a quarter.

Indian River’s aggressiveness, especially attacking for offensive rebounds, edged the Lady Braves in front in the second period. On numerous possessions, it took Indian River three, four or five shots to get one to fall, but the physical play in the paint made all those shots possible.

IR’s Shanel Williams, Keiara Avant and Chelisa Painter combined for 25 points and 20 rebounds in the first half and IR led 29-27 at halftime.

NR’s main post player who tried her best to battle against IR’s frontcourt was DeShanna Honore’. Honore’ struggled early on against Avant and Painter, but turned into NR’s most consistent force in the second half.

IR built its lead to 34-27 in the first 1:10 of the second half. NR fought back within 42-40 and had the chance to take the last shot of the third period, but when NR missed with 11 seconds and counting, it was enough time for Williams to drive down the court and make a 16-foot jumper at the horn to put IR up four heading to the last quarter.

Honore’ had offensive success by stepping out to the high post, or even beyond, and knocking down jumpers away from IR’s strength close to the basket. She made a jumper from the foul line to make it 44-42 IR two minutes into the fourth period.

IR put together a 10-2 run over the next three minutes, led mainly by Williams who finished with 26 points and 10 rebounds, and the Lady Braves led 54-44 with 2:50 left.

Trinese Fox’s steal, breakaway and lay-up cut the lead to 54-48 with 2:20 left; then a 15-foot jumper by Honore’ made it 54-50 IR with 1:03 left.

In the final 1:03, IR made only 2 of 7 at the foul line. A three-pointer by Brown with 0:38 left made it 56-53 IR.

After IR wasted a trip to the line and NR took a timeout with 0:15 left, a sideline inbounds play went to Jones at the top of the key, but her shot was off.

IR’s Jessica Mayes missed two free throws, but a rebound by Avant forced another NR foul. With 7.2 seconds left, Avant missed both and NR got this rebound.

Jones dribbled to the deep right wing, pump faked, then went up with a shot with two IR defenders right on her and got the foul call.

NR’s last chance came down to needing an offensive rebound and desperation put-back. NR center Brittany Boyd got a momentary piece of the ball after Jones’ intentional miss, but she had the ball ripped away in the crowded lane.

Indian River finished with a 50-39 rebound advantage and making 15 of 29 free throws compared to 5 of 9 by Nansemond River. The Lady Warriors made 7 of 19 three-point shots.

Honore’ led NR with 15 points and 13 rebounds. Brown had 12 points, Fox added seven points, five steals, five rebounds and four assists.

The Lady Warriors (4-1, 4-1) depart for Myrtle Beach, S.C. and the Crescent Bank Invitational and will play their opening round game in the 16-team tourney on Thursday evening against Myrtle Beach High School.