Little Brave beats Warriors

Published 8:42 pm Friday, January 30, 2009

Thursday night’s Southeastern District basketball game at Indian River pitted two boys teams trying to rebound from losses two nights earlier.

The host Braves were the side to get that done, edging Nansemond River 75-71 in overtime in a battle which featured hectic, physical play, hard fouls, hard no-calls, and a fourth period in which neither side led by more than a basket for the final seven minutes of regulation.

Senior point guard Mike Bynum, who’s listed at 5-foot-8, scored 24 of his game-high 28 points after halftime for the Braves, but the Warriors had their chances, most notably at the free throw line where Nansemond River finished 12 for 32 (37.5 percent) on the night.

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Trying to bounce back from a loss on Tuesday to Great Bridge, the Warriors found their rhythm in the second period after Indian River held a 15-12 lead after one period.

Morris Johnson, who came into the game and scored four quick points in the first period, continued to make plays. A steal by Johnson led to a jumper by Dontrell Silver, then Johnson drew a charge on the next IR possession, and Silver buried a three-pointer on NR’s next trip, giving the Warriors a 19-18 lead. A three-pointer by Sam Hughes made it 22-18 NR a few seconds later.

The Warriors went on to win the second quarter 21-10 and have a 33-25 lead at the half. Silver and Hughes had nine points each for NR in the half. NR’s awful foul shooting was already taking its toll though as the Warriors were 3 of 11 at the line and could have been up by 12-14 points with an average percentage.

Indian River’s offense, mostly Bynum and Dravon Poittilo, who scored 14 of his 16 points in the second half and overtime, became nearly unstoppable after the half.

Bynum took over with his quickness as he penetrated against Nansemond River’s defense and found ways to get his shots off the glass and in from the paint. One such drive by Bynum tied the score, 41-41, midway through the third period and gave him 10 of IR’s first 16 points in the second half.

The Warriors answered to regain the lead. The momentum shifted with Silver flicking an outlet pass behind him to Dion Bivens for a fast-break lay-up, then David Long jamming home a rebound to make it 49-43 NR. The Warriors took a 54-48 lead to the final period.

It took two minutes for the Braves, mostly Bynum, to erase NR’s lead. A three-pointer by Bynum, then a 2 of 3 trip to the foul line by Bynum, put IR up 56-55 with six minutes and counting.

From there, the lead went back and forth and, at least according to the two benches, the missed calls went back and forth.

NR moved in front again, 64-63, on a three-pointer by Silver with 1:40 remaining. Then the Warriors seemed to find their touch at the line just in time. Center Shakor Sommers, 0 of 5 at the line to this point, made two at the line with 0:55 left to put NR up 66-64.

After a basket for each team, IR’s Antonio Bynum scored his second basket of the night, getting a rebound and putting it back up. The Warriors called timeout with 0:14 left.

NR got the ball inside to Sommers and there was hard contact from two Brave defenders as he went up in the lane, but the call was a jump ball. The Warriors inbounded with 1.0 seconds left, but the inbound pass was tipped away.

Overtime was one more chance for Bynum to take over. With the Warriors up 69-68, Bynum split his way inside for a lay-up, then stole the ball in the backcourt and went in for a lay-up, suddenly putting IR up 72-69 a minute into the period. The Warriors managed only one more basket in the overtime.

Long led the Warriors with 16 points and nine rebounds. Silver had 14 points, seven rebounds and six assists. Bivens and Hughes added 12 and 11 points, respectively.