Lady Warriors scrape by Lakeland

Published 11:21 pm Thursday, January 8, 2009

The aging scoreboard in Nansemond River’s gymnasium has a habit of flickering and of suddenly flashing scores other than the one entered into its console. But Warriors coach Calvin Mason didn’t need the score to tell him his team struggled in defeating Lakeland, 54-46, Thursday night.

“We were a little lethargic tonight,” said Mason, who started five reserves to begin the second half. “I had to send our starters a message to wake up. Our young kids off the bench jump-started us, even if I don’t always know what they’re going to do out there.”

NR led 27-25 at halftime and the score was 35-29 after Lakeland scored with five minutes remaining in the third quarter. On their next four possessions, however, the Cavaliers committed four turnovers. Four minutes after their last bucket, the visitors found themselves in a 42-29 hole.

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“We didn’t deal well with their full-court pressure,” said Lakeland coach Alan Jones, whose team committed 27 turnovers, 19 in the second half. “We started just running up court, instead of setting screens for each other.”

The improving Cavaliers trailed 11-9 after a quarter and led for the last time at 16-14 after Kaylyn Chatman sank a 3-point shot two minutes into the second quarter. Lakeland was within two points at halftime despite standout forward Terika Lunsford, who had 11 points at the break, making only 3 of 11 field goal attempts.

Lunsford finished with 22 points and needs 64 more to reach 1,000 for her high school career. But NR held the senior to four points in the pivotal third quarter, when the Cavaliers committed 11 turnovers. Leading the Warriors in scoring during that stanza was Trinese Fox, a senior who had four points in it and 16 in the game.

“Most people would kill for the game she had but it was one of her worst this season,” Mason said of Fox, who’s playing her first campaign at point guard. “Her timing just seemed off and she’d drive the lane and draw double coverage and then not find an open teammate with a pass.”

The Warriors’ Andrea Jones had 19 points, 14 of them in the first half when she made 5 of 6 field goals, including two treys. Coaches from Christopher Newport attended the game and spoke with Mason afterwards to express the Captains’ interest in bringing Jones aboard for next season.

“I don’t think all our kids realized what goes into a rivalry game like this,” Mason said. “Lakeland is definitely improved and they came in and played hard. We could have lost, but I’ll take an ugly win.”

Chatman had 12 points for the Cavaliers (3-7, 2-6), who host Hickory on Friday. Nansemond River (8-3, 6-1) visits Deep Creek the same night.