NSA boys fall to Norfolk Collegiate

Published 11:05 pm Friday, February 11, 2011

Nansemond-Suffolk’s Hunter Beale takes a jumper during the third period of NSA’s Tidewater Conference game at Norfolk Collegiate Friday. Beale scored nine points as NSA fell to the Oaks 53-38.

NORFOLK — Nansemond-Suffolk’s boys basketball squad cut a 19-point Norfolk Collegiate lead down to as close as 40-33 in the fourth period before the host Oaks pulled away again for a 53-38 Tidewater Conference win Friday night.

The Saints couldn’t climb all the way back after falling behind right out of the blocks.

NSA missed its first six shots, and the rest of the opening quarter got tougher from there against Norfolk Collegiate’s solid defense and patient offense.

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The Oaks moved out to a 7-0 lead. It was 15-2 Collegiate with 1:36 showing in the period and 17-4 going to the second period.

As open Saint shots didn’t fall early, NSA’s offense became more forced and turnovers became the major problem as Norfolk Collegiate steadily stretched its lead to as much as 30-11.

The chance to regroup in the locker room gave the Saints a boost of energy and aggression.

Thanks to a rare five-point play a bit more than a minute into the new half, NSA quickly put itself in haling range of the Oaks.

Harrison Spalding scored inside and was fouled. He missed from the line but gathered a deflected rebound and tossed in an off-balance 10-footer while being fouled. He made this free throw, cutting Collegiate’s lead to 31-20.

The Oaks led 40-28 going to the last eight minutes. NSA had tightened up its defense throughout the second half but couldn’t afford to allow long Oak possessions any longer, even if holding the Oaks on most of them.

A half-court, trapping Saint zone forced a rash of Oak turnovers in a stretch of a couple minutes.

Chris Sharrett chased down an outlet pass for an acrobatic lay-up as he ran out of room, followed quickly by an interception and three-point play by Spalding, cutting Norfolk Collegiate’s lead to 40-33 with 5:09 left.

The Oaks answered by returning to taking good care of the ball. Without the steals and fast break chances, NSA’s scoring stalled at a critical time. A 7-0 Oak run made it 49-34 margin with 2:12 left.

Breon Willie and Spalding scored 11 points each for the Saints (6-16, 1-6). Hunter Beale added nine points and six rebounds.

The Saints continue in conference play hosting Bishop Sullivan Catholic Tuesday evening.