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Bishop Sullivan ends Lady Saints’ season

VIRGINIA BEACH – Bishop Sullivan Catholic defeated Nansemond-Suffolk’s girls basketball squad for the third time this season Tuesday night in the first round of the VIS (Virginia Independent Schools) Div. I State Tournament at Bishop Sullivan Catholic. For the third time it was a rout for the Lady Crusaders as Bishop Sullivan won 59-32.

No. 12-seeded Nansemond-Suffolk (8-13) hung close in the game in the first few minutes, but by the midway point of the second period, the No. 5 Lady Crusaders were ahead 26-8.

Tough defense and a patient pace were NSA’s keys early on. A 17-foot jumper by Kelsey Ritter made it 7-6 Bishop Sullivan just short of five minutes into the game. Over the next seven minutes however, too many NSA turnovers, caused largely by quick full-court pressing by the hosts, allowed Bishop Sullivan to pull away.

NSA, mainly by the shooting display put on by sophomore guard Virginia Hassell, worked its way back into the game a little before halftime. Hassell, mostly with pull-up, well-guarded jumpers from 15-19 feet away, scored 13 of NSA’s 15 points in the second quarter.

Bishop Sullivan still led 35-21 at halftime. BSC held a 15-4 advantage in turnovers through the first half.

“Toward the end of the second quarter we cut it to 11, then they made two back-door cuts and that took the momentum back,” NSA head coach Kim Aston said.

“When you’re having a difficult time getting the ball up the court and scoring, you can’t give up easy baskets. We worked hard on defense, but then we gave up little, easy baskets,” Aston said.

Bishop Sullivan scored the first six points of the second half to take definite control of the game.

The Lady Crusaders advanced to the quarterfinals of the state tournament and will play at No. 4 Collegiate (Richmond) Wednesday.

“We’ve got to be able to relieve the pressure on (Hassell). Next year, hopefully some of our younger guards will be able to step up and do that,” Aston said.

The Lady Saints lose only one senior, starting forward Grace Saunders.

Hassell finished with 23 points and five rebounds. Ritter and Sarah Baldwin had six rebounds each. Macy Mears had three assists.