NR avenges district loss

Published 10:44 pm Friday, January 28, 2011

Nansemond River’s Shannon Evans scored a game-high 27 points and had 11 rebounds as the Warriors beat visiting Hickory 78-68 Friday night. Nansemond River improves to 16-2 overall and 13-1 in the Southeastern District.

Nansemond River’s boys basketball team avenged its only district loss so far this season with a 78-68 win over visiting Hickory Friday night.

In an energetic contest from both sides, the Warriors (16-2, 13-1) led from late in the first quarter through the rest of the game but had to fend off repeated Hawk runs.

In most Warrior victories this season, a guard has led the way. It’s often Ashton Moore’s shooting and scoring or Dontrell Brite’s speed, passing and defense.

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On Friday, Shannon Evans took over leading the Warriors with 27 points. Evans made 15-of-16 free throws including six in the closing minutes to keep NR’s lead safe. The 5-foot-11 guard posted a double-double with 11 rebounds.

Despite earning an upset win over Nansemond River a couple weeks ago in home their home floor, the Hawks more than matched NR’s intensity in rolling out to a 14-9 lead.

Shooting guard Michael Foley paced Hickory’s good start with nine points. Hickory shot well overall and finished hitting 8-of-18 three-pointers on night. Foley finished with 25 points.

Moore hit a pair of free throws and after NR’s trapping defense caused a steal, Moore hit a pull-up jumper to put NR ahead 15-14.

In the final 0:12 of the opening period Moore hit a three-pointer and another Hickory turnover near midcourt led to a 3-on-1 Warrior break and Evans making a lay-in a second before the horn. The 5-0 flurry fired up the home crowd and put NR up 20-16. The rest of the way was in no fashion easy for the Warriors but they led from there on out.

Reserve post player Daniel Wallace added two buckets late in the half, including a lay-in to finish a sprint down the court by Moore for a 38-28 NR lead with a minute and counting to go.

Evans hit his second buzzer-beating shot of the first two periods, this time a deep wing three-pointer, for a 41-30 Warrior lead at the break. Moore and Evans teamed up for 26 points in the first half.

A classic Warrior run, especially when the Warriors are on their home floor, seemed to be a shot Hickory might not recover from.

Midway through the third period Brite and Moore swiped the ball from Hawk guards on back-to-back possessions. Brite took his pilfer in for a lay-in. Moore’s steal turned into two for Jay Melendez.

On the next Hickory trip, Melendez boarded a missed three and immediately raced ahead to start a fast break. Evans was fouled going to the hoop. He made both at the line for a 51-36 NR lead.

Hickory answered, in part with the help of a flagrant foul called on Michael Copeland as he fouled a Hawk driving to the basket, then a technical foul a couple minutes later on Wallace for taunting after he made a basket.

Hickory scored seven points thanks to the flagrant and technical calls and fought back within 59-50 going to the fourth. The Hawks got as close as 62-58 with 6:01 remaining in the game.

Evans rebounded his own missed jumper and tossed in a lay-in to stop the Hawk run. A Hickory miss led to Moore lobbing a long outlet to Copeland for a lay-up and a 66-58 NR lead.

Evans going to the foul line accounted for keeping NR’s lead at least at seven points in the final few minutes.

Moore finished with 16 points, six assists and four rebounds. Brite had six points and four assists. Copeland added 10 points.

The Warriors have four Southeastern District games left to their regular season. Nansemond River travels to Indian River Tuesday evening.