Nansemond River ends rival’s streak
Published 11:12 pm Tuesday, December 14, 2010
Nansemond River ended King’s Fork’s 51-game winning streak in the Southeastern District with 22 points each from backcourt running mates Ashton Moore and Dontrell Brite in a 75-69 win at King’s Fork Tuesday night.
The Warriors (4-0) make up the bookends for the Bulldog streak that goes back over two full seasons and accounts for back-to-back Southeastern season titles and back-to-back SED Tournament crowns. Nansemond River beat King’s Fork on Feb. 1, 2008. The Bulldogs had seven straight wins over the Warriors as part of the 51-game streak.
The Warriors never trailed after gaining a 10-9 lead in the later stages of the first period. NR built a lead as large as 34-15 midway through the second period. The Bulldogs (4-1, 3-1) closed the gap a couple times, including down the stretch, to get to as close as 71-67 with 0:41 remaining in the game.
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Nansemond River raced, literally, out to its lead. The guard tandem of Moore and Brite led the way, but all the Warriors got out in transition and made the action as fast as possible in the opening half.
With six points by center Zach Johnson and a three-point play in the lane by Fred Scott, King’s Fork held small leads in the early minutes.
The Warrior high-pressure defense forced more turnovers as the first half went on. The Warriors turned many of those steals, and even rebounds and racing the ball up the court after a Bulldog basket, into fast-break points.
Brite hit a three-pointer and Moore followed with a tray after a KF turnover seconds later to boost the NR lead to 16-9. Brite and Moore combined for 15 points in the opening half and NR led 20-11.
“(Coach Ed Young) wanted us to come out with a lot of intensity. This was a district game, a city game,” Brite said.
Brite’s quickness was a difference all over the floor, whether slashing through KF’s defense to score in the lane or leave an assist for a teammate or keying NR’s defensive effort.
The Warriors scored the first six points of the second period and kept going to a 19-point lead. The Bulldogs edged their way into shouting distance, 36-24, by halftime.
Johnson scored a three-point play in the low post on KF’s first possession of the third period to bring KF within single digits. Scott scored off of offensive boards on back-to-back trips to bring KF within 43-35 late in the third. NR held a 45-38 lead going to the fourth.
The last eight minutes turned mostly into a free-throw shooting contest. If not a few turnovers in the final minute, the Bulldogs might have won thanks to the charity stripe. KF shot 79.4 percent (27-for-34) at the line while NR made 59.4 percent (19-for-32).
Brite made two drives and two dishes to Michael Copeland for lay-ins to take NR’s lead to 49-38 early in the fourth.
King’s Fork hung around though and Rod Parrett’s three-pointer cut NR’s lead to 66-61 with 1:15 to play. Johnson scored in the paint to cut the margin to 69-65 with 0:56 left.
Copeland made two at the line for the Warriors and Johnson answered with another basket inside.
The next two NR trips to the line resulted in just two points but Bulldog turnovers on the ensuing possessions sealed the game.
“We were talking about getting under control and handling the situation with the crowd yelling and everything,” Brite said. “We came together and were able to finish it off.”
For KF, Johnson finished with 24 points, 14 rebounds and four blocks. Scott added 16 points and 11 boards.
Brite finished with 22 points, six assists and five steals. Copeland added 15 points. Daniel Wallace had seven points and four rebounds off the bench.