Lady Warriors wear down tourney guests

Published 10:50 pm Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Nansemond River’s Jenel Cannon puts up a driving shot in the first half of Tuesday night’s Southeastern District Tournament game. The Lady Warriors pulled away from a tight game early for a 65-42 victory. The Lady Warriors (17-5) advance to the district semifinals Thursday night at King’s Fork.

Nansemond River clinched a regional tournament spot and moved into the Southeastern District’s final four with a 65-42 victory over visiting Oscar Smith Tuesday night.

The No. 2-seeded Lady Warriors (17-5) made the final score a lopsided one thanks largely to forcing 36 Oscar Smith turnovers during the course of a physical, hectic contest. How the Lady Warriors got to that result wasn’t as straightforward as the final made it look.

The No. 7 Lady Tigers gave the hosts a scare for much of the first half and stayed in contact with the Lady Warriors until a few minutes into the third period.

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Nansemond River’s depth, with four players scoring in double figures led by sophomore point guard Ashante Humphries tallying 15 points, and defensive intensity put the game away.

Humphries scored six of NR’s first seven points, taking the Lady Warriors out to a 7-3 lead. The Lady Warriors seemed to be rolling along, creating 10 Oscar Smith turnovers and taking a 15-9 lead through a period.

Oscar Smith answered with the first seven points of the second quarter to take the lead.

A couple three-point plays helped the Lady Warriors regain control of the game. Delisha Sharpe made 1-of-2 at the foul line and Humphries rebounded the miss and was fouled. She made both at the line to make it 22-18 NR.

NR’s next three points came with a Sharpe block turning into Jenel Cannon’s long outlet pass and Briana McClain’s lay-up while being fouled. McClain’s free throw made it 25-19 NR. The Lady Warriors built a 34-20 margin by halftime.

The Lady Tigers cut NR’s lead down to 11 a couple times early in the third period but NR’s athleticism on defense took too much of a toll.

In the first 4:25 of the second half, the Lady Tigers made all three of their field goal attempts and earned two trips to the foul line. Every other possession, nine of them, were Lady Tiger turnovers though.

The Lady Warriors started turning more of those steals and interceptions into points as the second half moved along. The Lady Warriors led 51-33 going to the fourth period.

Cannon and McClain finished with 11 points each. Cannon and Humphries had three steals each. Sharpe finished with 10 points and nine rebounds.

Nansemond River clinches a berth into the Eastern Region Tournament. Before regionals though, the Lady Warriors match up against No. 3 Grassfield in the district semifinals at King’s Fork Thursday evening.

The Lady Warriors took both contests over the Lady Grizzlies in the regular season with the second win being a 63-62 final at Nansemond River on Jan. 18.