Lady Saints stump Isle of Wight

Published 5:34 pm Friday, December 18, 2009

Thursday night’s girls basketball contest between Nansemond-Suffolk and Isle of Wight proved to be a match-up between each team’s high-scoring guard.

For the Lady Saints, sophomore Virginia Hassell steadily drained pull-up jumpers to total 24 points. For the hosting Lady Chargers, junior Chelsea Edwards rained in four three-pointers as part of her 22 points.

The difference in the end was Hassell got more help from her teammates as NSA prevailed 47-37.

One of NSA’s most important players on Thursday keyed the victory without scoring a point. Eighth-grade guard Macy Mears shadowed IWA’s Edwards throughout the second half after Edwards single-handedly kept IWA in the game in the first half with 17 of IWA’s 22 points.

With NSA up 29-22 at the half, head coach Kim Aston relied a diamond-and-one defense. Mears held Edwards to no three-pointers and five points in the second half. On the offensive end, NSA couldn’t pull away, but the Lady Saints effectively shortened the game with long possessions.

Hassell got the Lady Saints out to a quick 5-0 lead with a three-pointer and a 12-foot jumper in the lane. Emily Cobb’s breakaway lay-up made it 10-1 NSA at the 3:34 mark of the first period.

Edwards turned the momentum for the Lady Chargers and led IWA on an 11-4 finish to the period. Edwards made one of her high-arcing threes with 0:09 left to make it 14-12 NSA. Edwards drained three-pointers for IWA’s first two baskets of the second period, making it 18-18.

Forward Sarah Baldwin provided the most offensive help alongside Hassell. Baldwin’s steal, coast-to-coast drive and lay-up made it 22-18 NSA and Baldwin’s offensive rebound and basket made it 24-18. Hassell scored 12 in the first half and Baldwin added eight.

Midway through the third period, IWA erased most of NSA’s lead in one possession. Edwards scored on a drive to the basket and was fouled. Edwards missed from the line, but Ally VanCampen got the rebound for IWA, scored and was fouled. VanCampen’s made free throw made it a five-point play and cut NSA’s lead to 31-29.

IWA drew within 31-30, but couldn’t tie the score. Hassell made four mid-range jumpers in the final couple minutes of the third to give NSA a 39-30 lead going to the fourth period.

The Lady Saints held onto their lead through the last eight minutes by running 0:45 to 1:00 off the clock on most of their possessions. For most of the game however, Aston wasn’t pleased with how her teamed controlled the game.

“Really, Virginia (Hassell) controlled the game for us. We took a whole lot of bad shots tonight. There were too many possessions where we made one pass and jacked up a shot,” said Aston.

The combination of Mears and the diamond-and-one worked well for this win, said Aston, but it’s not something she wants to rely on, especially versus Tidewater Conference teams ahead on the schedule.

“We’ll be playing teams with three or four players (like Edwards) and we won’t be able to play junk defenses against them. Our defense will have to do a much better job,” Aston said.

Hassell finished with 24 points, 10 rebounds, four assists, four steals and three blocks. Baldwin had 10 points, 10 boards and four blocks. Cobb added eight points and eight rebounds.

Edwards led IWA (2-5) with 22 points, six steals, four rebounds and four assists.

Nansemond-Suffolk (3-2, 0-0) is off for nearly three weeks. The Lady Saints have five more non-conference games before entering TCIS play. NSA hosts Greenbrier Christian on Jan. 5.