Nansemond River can’t topple Lady Braves
Published 11:39 am Friday, January 30, 2009
The Nansemond River High girls basketball team trailed visiting Indian River by four points Thursday night with a minute to play in the teams’ Southeastern District game. There was enough time for the Warriors to overtake their foes, but they committed four turnovers and missed a mid-range jump shot in the remaining seconds and lost 52-48.
That final stretch was a microcosm of Nansemond River’s entire evening. The Warriors (14-3, 12-2) played hard enough to stay close, but not well enough to finish on top of the Braves (17-0, 14-0), who are now comfortably in the driver’s seat concerning the district’s regular season title.
“They gave the effort I expect from them,” Nansemond River coach Calvin Mason said of his players. “But all the effort in the world doesn’t matter if you don’t execute.”
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Nansemond River committed 27 turnovers and made only 16 of 26 free throws, statistics that limited its offense. The hosts also connected on only 14 of 45 field goal attempts in a physical game against one of the region’s most imposing teams. By game’s end, one Warrior sported a bandage under her right eye, another had suffered a concussion and a third was wheeled to the locker room with leg cramps.
“We did a good job on the glass, but we negated it with awful free throw shooting and all those turnovers,” Mason said. “We had one more rebound than they did at halftime and trailed by 10 points.”
The officiating didn’t help, either. Both sides were unhappy with it, but because the Braves often resemble a rugby team roaring up court, their opponents tend to rack up copious fouls if the referees call the contest tightly. That’s what happened Thursday, with Nansemond River point guard and spark plug Trinese Fox fouling out with 3:20 to play and on a violation off the ball. Not having her leadership on the court down the stretch was another strike against the Warriors.
“I was disappointed that in a game with this much at stake, there wasn’t a standard applied all the way through,” Mason said of the officiating. “It made our kids tentative, because they were trying to figure out what was and wasn’t a foul instead of worrying about playing defense. And you had better not be tentative against Indian River if you want to win.”
Andrea Jones led Nansemond River with 21 points and kept the Warriors in the game during the first half by hitting on 5 of 7 field goals and piling up 12 points. Fox had eight points but DeShanna Honore’ had only four and was 0 of 4 from the free throw line. Center Brittany Boyd had six blocks, including two in quick succession midway through the third quarter that sparked the Warriors on a run that allowed them to cut an 8-point deficit to four points by the start of the final stanza.
If one point had to be chosen where Nansemond River failed to take advantage of momentum, it might have been a 20-second stretch that ended with Fox’s fifth foul. The senior scored from close range to pull her team within 51-44 with 3:40 to play and an errant Indian River shot was rebounded by the hosts. However, a wild pass upcourt on the subsequent break gave possession back to the Braves, who then benefitted from Fox’s exit and made one of the two resulting free throws to go up 52-44. In the blink of an eye, a chance for the Warriors to pull within five points had instead turned into an eight-point hole.
“We can feel sorry for ourselves and get on the bus tomorrow and go make a mess out of another game or we can clean some things up and bounce back,” Mason said, referring to his team’s Friday game at city rival King’s Fork. “We don’t have enough players who can individually carry our team. Everything has to be a collective and executed effort or we fall short.”