Warriors go cold at Great Bridge

Published 10:50 pm Friday, February 4, 2011

Nansemond River’s Ashton Moore looks over Great Bridge’s defense in the first half of Friday night’s Southeastern District game. Great Bridge held Moore well below his 22-point per game average with six points and the Wildcats beat the Warriors 58-52.

CHESAPEAKE — Great Bridge kept Nansemond River from claiming the outright boys basketball title for the Southeastern District at least for Friday night as the host Wildcats kept the Warrior offense struggling all night to take a 58-52 win.

The Warriors (18-3, 15-2) came into Friday night’s action two games ahead of second-place King’s Fork with two games remaining. Pending how the Bulldogs fared at Deep Creek Friday night, the Warriors might have to win Tuesday evening at Deep Creek to clinch the district season crown and the automatic Eastern Region Tournament spot that goes along with it.

The Wildcats stymied one of Nansemond River’s strengths through most of the season, holding the Warriors to 5-for-25 (20.0 percent) shooting from three-point range. The Warriors shot 32.1 percent overall from the field.

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Great Bridge scored the last seven points of the first period to build a 15-7 advantage. The Warriors were 0-for-6 from beyond the arc in the first eight minutes then 0-for-4 in the second period.

Warrior turnovers, mainly from trying to force drives into a crowded lane as the outside shots weren’t falling, added to NR’s troubles and the Wildcats took full advantage.

An 8-0 Wildcat run made it 26-12 just past the midway point of the second period. Great Bridge led 28-18 at halftime.

The Warriors succeeded in speeding up the game and pressuring the Wildcats into mistakes in stretches of the second half but it wasn’t enough to turn the momentum totally around. Junior guard Dontrell Brite played the biggest role in the Warrior comeback attempt.

Brite scored 10 of NR’s first 13 points in the second half and his speed and steals on defense turned the tempo up. Brite’s interception and breakaway lay-in cut GB’s lead to 33-28 and forced a timeout with 3:27 to go in the third.

Shannon Evans hit a three-pointer to tie the game at 33-33. Brite stole the ensuing inbounds pass and was fouled going to the hoop. He made both at the line to give the Warriors a 15-2 run at that point and a momentary lead.

Great Bridge answered to regain a 38-37 lead going to the fourth period and build a 48-41 lead with just under four minutes to play after four straight free throws by Taj Owens, who made 8-of-8 free throws in the second half and finished with a game-high 18 points.

Evans hit a trey to cut the Wildcat lead to 48-44. Two Owens free throws followed by a bucket by Owens with 1:09 left made it 52-44 GB. A four-point deficit was as close as the Warriors could get the rest of the way.

Brite finished with 16 points. Evans added 14 points and five rebounds. The Wildcats held NR’s leading scorer, point guard Ashton Moore, to six points. Great Bridge forced 20 Warrior turnovers while committing 19.

The Warriors get their second chance at locking up the outright Southeastern title at Deep Creek Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. The Warriors beat the Hornets 82-46 on Jan. 11 in Suffolk.