NR gets message in second half

Published 11:17 pm Friday, February 6, 2009

The Lakeland High girls basketball team hung tough with visiting Nansemond River on Thursday before being left behind during the Warriors’ 64-40 victory.

With one game remaining in the Southeastern District regular season, it appears Lakeland will finish eighth for the second consecutive year, thus having to travel to play the top-seeded team in the district tournament’s opening round. This year, that’s Indian River (18-1, 16-0).

Thursday, the Cavaliers pulled into a 14-14 tie midway through the second quarter but weren’t able to forge another deadlock or take a lead. Nansemond River coach Calvin Mason was so exasperated by his team’s 10-8 edge after a quarter that he sat four of his five starters out the entire second quarter.

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“We sat them down so they could think for a little while,” said Mason, whose team should finish second in the district and host a first-round tournament game next week. “I told them that either you perform or you sit. Message received.”

It certainly was, for although the Warriors only led 20-16 at halftime, the return of their starters to kick off the third quarter resulted in an offensive explosion. NR (17-4, 15-2) went on a 15-0 run during the stanza’s first 2:30, hitting 7 of 9 field goals while Lakeland committed five turnovers and attempted only one shot in that span.

“We fight hard but we don’t have the necessary depth,” said Lakeland coach Alan Jones, whose team committed 34 turnovers, two nights after committing 33 at King’s Fork and blowing a 15-point lead. “I don’t have the bench to be able to rest my starters and maintain a lead, so four of them wind up playing close to 32 minutes a night. When you ask kids to play those kind of minutes, you’re going to get turnovers.”

Nansemond River led 46-29 after three quarters. Andrea Jones led the Warriors with 16 points, followed by Cierra Mobley with 11 points, Brittany Boyd with 10 points and nine rebounds and DeShanna Honore’ with nine points. Terika Lunsford had 15 points and eight turnovers for Lakeland (5-14, 4-13) and teammate Kaylyn Chatman had 11 points.

“They had a burst of emotion from Senior Night to start the game and we didn’t match it,” Mason said. “But I’m proud of the way we came out in the second half. We were on the ball more and we were more physical.”