Lady Saints tip off season to a good start

Published 11:07 pm Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Nansemond-Suffolk junior Morgan Lakie scored 25 points in her first game as a Lady Saint as NSA won 54-45 at Denbigh Baptist Tuesday. Lakie scored 19 points in the second half.

NEWPORT NEWS — Morgan Lakie scored a team-high 25 points in her debut for Nansemond-Suffolk, and NSA opened its girls basketball season with a 54-45 win at Denbigh Baptist Tuesday night.

Lakie, a junior who transferred from Grassfield, did some of everything to help the Lady Saints turn a 20-18 halftime deficit around.

Lakie drained a three-pointer from the left wing to give NSA a 24-21 lead two minutes into the second half. She finished a steal and fast break with a three-point play to put NSA up 33-27 late in the third period.

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The Lady Saints gained offensive rhythm as the game progressed and played their best in the fourth quarter. NSA scored on five straight trips early in the period with Lakie hitting three long jumpers for seven points in the run. Lakie’s second three of the game made it 44-36 NSA with 5:07 left.

Aside from the welcome addition of Lakie, who played everywhere from the post to point guard and added eight rebounds and five steals on the night, the nucleus of last season’s team returns for head coach Kim Aston.

At the same time, most of the returning vets are still young. Three freshmen will see lots of playing time, guards Macy Mears and Jessica Pieroni and forward Kaylor Nash. Mears and Pieroni were starters as eighth-graders. The Lady Saints were 7-13 last season.

Even from quarter to quarter in the season debut, the game seemed to come easier for the Lady Saints. After posting 18 points and 14 turnovers before halftime, the Lady Saints made it 36 points and seven turnovers in the second half.

“Some of our players seemed out of rhythm tonight,” Aston said, “but we were definitely more comfortable offensively in the second half.”

“I thought we played really hard. Our intensity was good. We’ve got to have a little more leadership on the floor,” Aston said.

Early on, a packed-in Denbigh Baptist defense made things difficult on the Lady Saints. A number of wild passes meant the Lady Saints were making it tough on themselves, too.

A pair of steals, turned into fast-break baskets by Mears, made up most of NSA’s offense in the first period. NSA still came within one second of taking a lead into halftime before Kayleigh Povlin made a deep three-pointer at the horn for the hosts.

NSA moved the ball better and worked for better shots coming out of the locker room. It was by no means easy, but NSA led the rest of the way after Lakie’s triple made it 24-21.

Denbigh Baptist chipped NSA’s lead down to four, 45-41, as the clock moved under three minutes. NSA answered with Sarah Baldwin banking in a jumper in the lane and Pieroni scoring a three-point play off an inbound-pass assist from Mears.

Baldwin finished with 12 points and 13 rebounds. Mears had 10 points, seven assists and six steals. Pieroni scored seven points, all in the second half.

Forward Kimberlyn Schindler led Denbigh Baptist with 23 points and 12 rebounds.

The Lady Saints hit the road again, to Saluda and Christchurch, Thursday evening. NSA’s home opener isn’t until game five and Friday, Dec. 10.