Super soph too much for Saints

Published 10:15 pm Saturday, February 7, 2009

Norfolk Christian stormed ahead to a huge lead by halftime lead by 6-foot-8 sophomore James McAdoo and even with Nansemond-Suffolk rallying in the final 14 minutes of play, the Ambassadors won a Tidewater Conference game Friday at NSA 60-50.

McAdoo, the son of Bob McAdoo, who played 14 NBA seasons and scored more than 18,000 points in his NBA career, played a quick, versatile game and finished with 22 points and four blocks. McAdoo’s 13 first-half points paced the Ambassadors as they built a 34-12 lead.

Three minutes into the game, McAdoo had two dunks, a three-pointer and nine points in all as NC led 16-2.

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As soon as the Saints had recovered a little and were playing with the Ambassadors, NSA’s leading scorer, senior forward Isaac Ballou, picked up his second foul. NC led 18-7 with 1:39 left in the first period at that point. Although Ballou spent only a couple minutes on the bench, his foul trouble made finding offense even more challenging for the Saints.

Ballou got his third foul with 3:12 left in the half and had to spend more time out of the game.

Norfolk Christian led by as much as 39-12 two minutes into the second half before NSA’s offense started finding success against the Ambassadors.

Five points by Harrison Spalding, a three-point play on a drive to the basket, then a lay-up off a curl to the hoop and a feed by Ballou, gave NSA a spark. A three-pointer by Ballou made it 45-30 NC going to the fourth period.

The Saints continued rallying and were within striking distance with six minutes remaining. A three-pointer by Vincent Hochstrasser, then a steal by Jim Hassell on NSA’s full-court press set up Hassell with two free throws, which he made, making it 49-38 at the 6:12 mark.

The Ambassadors (15-4, 4-1) answered by slowing the game down, which forced the Saints to extend their defense to midcourt. On back-to-back possessions, point guard Jihadd Wilson assisted McAdoo as he cut along the baseline for two-handed dunks. McAdoo’s second dunk made it 55-40 with 3:03 left.

From there, the closest the Saints got was on a three by Hockstrasser at the final horn.

Ballou, who went over the 2,000-point mark on Tuesday, becoming the first NSA player to do so, scored all of his 15 points in the second half.

Hassell added 12 points and three steals. Hochstrasser finished with 11 points. Spalding had nine points and five assists.

Adding to McAdoo’s game, NC got 14 points and nine rebounds from Mario Nixon and Wilson finished with 12 assists.

NC had a 34-12 rebounding advantage, which was somewhat countered as NSA’s defense forced a 24-12 turnover difference, but McAdoo’s ability kept the Saint rally at a comfortable margin down the stretch.

NSA (8-11, 1-4) goes on the road, to Peninsula Catholic, on Tuesday.