Lady Warriors beat Indian River

Published 10:39 pm Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Nansemond River’s Jenel Cannon goes around an Indian River defender during the first half of Tuesday night’s Southeastern District game at Nansemond River. The Lady Warriors (14-4, 13-2) beat Indian River 53-49 to stay within reach of first-place Western Branch going into Thursday’s game between NR and WB in Chesapeake.

Nansemond River’s girls basketball team took a big step toward securing at least second place in the Southeastern District Tuesday night with a nip-and-tuck 53-49 win over visiting Indian River.

The Lady Warriors (14-4, 13-2) kept themselves in good shape to host a district quarterfinal game come SED Tournament time in a couple weeks. They also kept themselves within range of going one spot better and drawing even with first-place Western Branch when No. 2 visits No. 1 Thursday night.

Junior center Delisha Sharpe led the Lady Warriors with 24 points and 26 rebounds. Clearly Sharpe was busy throughout the contest. She saved her best work around the hoop for last though, as in the last few minutes of what was a tight game the whole way.

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Neither side led by more than five points at any point. Sparked by a couple baskets in the lane by Sonnae Gibson, the Lady Warriors moved out to an 8-3 lead.

After NR held a 15-13 edge after a quarter, IR held the Lady Warriors scoreless, plagued by seven turnovers along the way, through the first 5:15 of the second period.

NR’s trapping and quickness made it almost as tough on the visitors, so by the time Sharpe ended the NR drought with a hoop in the paint, IR led but only by 20-17.

Jenel Cannon drive and floating shot along the baseline tied it, 21-21, for the Lady Warriors. A pair of Sharpe free throws made it 24-21 NR and that was the score at the break. Sharpe tallied eight points and 16 rebounds in the first half.

While Sharpe led the Lady Warriors inside, Indian River fought back in its own hard-fought fashion. The Lady Braves rebounded in numbers. While no one Lady Brave matched the 6-foot-2 Sharpe, IR repeatedly hurt NR with offensive rebounds and as many as four or five shots per possession.

Sharpe scored two of NR’s first three hoops coming out of halftime, for a 30-25 NR advantage. IR answered with a 7-0 run to claim the lead.

Briana McClain’s three-pointer moved the Lady Warriors back in front. NR took a 37-34 lead to the fourth period.

Two Sharpe free throws pushed NR’s lead to 43-39 nearing three minutes to play. NR had an empty trip to the line, then an offensive board and three more shots, which went begging and instead turned into an Indian River fast break lay-up to make the NR lead one basket.

The Lady Braves forced a turnover in NR’s backcourt but missed a lay-up. NR regained possession and got the ball to Sharpe in the lane for a turnaround move and basket.

Sharpe followed with a 1-for-2 trip to the line and after another defensive stop Sharpe scored from the low post for a 48-43 NR lead.

“We understood at the end that Sharpe needed to touch the ball every time down the court,” said NR head coach Calvin Mason, Sr.

“She was the difference in the game and we weren’t patient enough through some of the rest of the game to get her the ball,” Mason said.

IR scored four quick points, the second two thanks to another NR turnover versus IR’s full-court press.

Indian River forced another steal and had a fast break looking for the lead until a carrying call on the Lady Braves.

Sharpe made 1-of-2 foul shots with 0:46 remaining. NR defended another chance for IR to tie or take the lead.

The Lady Warriors passed the ball through IR’s trapping and finished with Cannon assisting to Sharpe for a hoop inside for a 51-47 NR lead with 0:19 and counting.

The Lady Braves scored to make it a one-possession game again. With 7.8 seconds showing Ashante Humphries scored the clinching points with two at the line.

Humphries ran the point and totaled 10 points, six rebounds, five assists and three steals. McClain and Cannon added four assists each.

“(Sharpe) is a very efficient post player but she can’t be a good post player if we can’t get the ball to her,” Mason said.

Nansemond River’s won three straight games going into Thursday’s date at Western Branch. The Lady Bruins (16-2, 13-1) romped to an 80-45 win at Nansemond River in early January.

“We have to play better than how we played tonight. If we play well, it’ll still be difficult (against Western Branch). We’ll emphasize that we have to do what we can do well,” Mason said.