This victory must have felt like a defeat

Published 9:03 pm Tuesday, February 8, 2011

There was no celebration marking Nansemond River’s boys basketball team’s clinching of the Southeastern District season title at Great Bridge Friday night.

For starters, the scoreboard read Great Bridge 58, Nansemond River 52.

Nansemond River’s work over the previous 16 district games, with the Warriors winning 15 of them, meant the Warriors had a cushion coming down to the last couple nights of the regular season. So, also around 9:30 p.m. Friday, when second-place King’s Fork lost at Deep Creek, that result put the Warriors over the top.


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Even if the Warriors, specifically head coach Ed Young, had known about the King’s Fork/Deep Creek score moments after their own game ended, it wouldn’t have changed the mood the Warriors had upon leaving Great Bridge.

Thanks to Great Bridge’s defensive effort holding the normally high-scoring Warriors to 52 points, and only 18 in the first half, Young’s postgame message to his squad likely left no permission to smile, let alone celebrate. It was obvious just from hanging around and judging faces and body language while the Warriors left the locker room.

During the preseason Young made it sound as if the Warriors needed everything to break their way in order to come in better than sixth or seventh in the 10-school Southeastern District.

Instead, the Warriors won the SED season crown for the eighth time in the last 10 seasons. Combined with King’s Fork winning the last two titles, the Southeastern’s season banner has been Suffolk property for a decade.

But statistics, even if they’re impressive and or even historic, were not the reasons it would’ve been nice to have seen the current Warriors celebrate.

They deserved a few chest bumps and so on, because they accomplished something worthy of individual and team pride. The could have celebrated at least for a couple moments before moving on to what lies ahead.

The Warriors reached the regional tournament last season, getting a dramatic upset victory over Beach District champ Landstown in the round of 16 before falling to Kecoughtan in the quarters.

So even with an addition to Nansemond River’s boys basketball banner secured, there’s always another goal and more to build toward.

A coach delivering a serious postgame talk following a defeat could serve as a well-timed reminder for the Warriors to have in mind at this late stage of the season.

At the same time, a championship is a championship, even if regional and state crowns are the ultimate goals, and even without the big celebration, the Warriors should feel proud to be headed to the tournament once again.