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Cougars pounce on Nansemond-Suffolk from the start

Nansemond-Suffolk’s boys basketball team couldn’t keep its momentum going from Monday night’s win at home into Friday night’s game against a tougher, taller, quicker opponent. Richmond’s Collegiate School broke out to a big lead early on and kept going to a 74-51 victory over the Saints.

The Cougars never trailed after racing, quite literally, out to a 7-0 lead in the opening 0:45. After the opening bucket by the Cougars, back-to-back NSA turnovers led to fast breaks and lay-ups for Cougar guard Connor Kelley, the second of which went for a three-point play.

Later in the period, Kelley drained a pair of three-pointers from deep on the left wing. Kelley went on to tally 25 points, including four three-pointers, to lead Collegiate. By the end of the first quarter, the Cougars led 27-13.

By the midpoint of the second quarter, Collegiate’s lead was up to 20. NSA had decent success offensively, mainly with Harrison Spalding and Breon Willie creating their own shots from off the dribble, but the Cougars were scoring, either with Kelley from the outside or with a number of solid post players who had three or four inches on any Saint defender, nearly every time down the court.

Spalding and Willie accounted for 23 points in the first half, but the Cougars led 47-26.

Through the second half, Spalding working for his own shot was the only thing that worked for the Saints. Collegiate held a 20-plus point lead throughout the final 16 minutes.

The Saints worked to get open looks from three-point range, but the Saints finished the night making only 3-of-17 three-point shots; and while it wouldn’t have been enough to make a difference in the outcome, the Saints made only 7-of-16 foul shots for the game.

Spalding finished with 32 points, including three three-pointers. Willie had 11 points and four steals. Taylor Edens, NSA’s starting center at 6-foot-1, led the Saints with five rebounds.

Collegiate outrebounded the Saints 37-24. Collegiate shot 49.2 percent (29-of-59) from the field.

The Saints (3-10) have one more outing before heading into Tidewater Conference play. NSA hosts Bishop Sullivan on Tuesday at 7 p.m.