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NR can’t score second upset

Nansemond River wasn’t even supposed to be a part of Wednesday night’s festivities in the Eastern Region Tournament at Norfolk Scope.

Thanks to the Warriors’ upset at Beach District champion Landstown in Monday’s opening round, Nansemond River was there and two wins away from a spot in the VHSL State Tournament.

Another big upset wasn’t to be though as Kecoughtan, the Warriors from the Peninsula District, was too athletic for Nansemond River and went on to a 72-48 victory.

Kecoughtan’s athleticism was led by this season’s Peninsula District Player of the Year and future Old Dominion Monarch Dimitri Batten. The 6-foot-4 swingman totaled 14 points, 13 rebounds and four assists and a huge alley-oop, one-handed slam by Batten punctuated a decisive big run in Kecoughtan’s 21-9 fourth quarter.

Up until the last big surge by Kecoughtan, Nansemond River trailed the whole way, but hung in the game.

Kecoughtan raced to a 7-2 lead in the first 1:20, but NR got good shooting early on from guards Ashton Moore and Brian Clarke. Moore and Clarke canned a pair of jumpers each and NR cut Kecoughtan’s lead down to 15-13 late in the first period.

Kerrington Harris scored five straight NR points, with a three-pointer and another long jumper, early in the second period.

Meanwhile though, NR wasn’t cutting into the deficit. Kecoughtan scored on each of its first four possessions of the second period, all on second and third attempts after rebounds as NR couldn’t match Kecoughtan’s quickness and leaping.

In the last 0:50 of the first half, Joshua Fortune hit a pair of three-pointers to stretch Kecoughtan’s lead to 36-22.

Nansemond River tried picking the pace of the game up in the third period, but Kecoughtan was just fine running more as well and hurt NR repeatedly on fast breaks.

NR’s 6-foot-2 center, Morris Johnson, kept his side in shouting distance with tough play and baskets in the paint. Moore scored the last two baskets of the period to bring NR within 51-39 going to the fourth, that was as close as Nansemond River (15-11) got however.

Fortune led Kecoughtan with 18 points. Johnson led NR with 16 points and eight rebounds. Clarke scored 12 points and Moore added nine points.