Booker brawn ends Warrior season

Published 10:24 pm Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Working hard: Nansemond River’s Dontrell Brite works against Booker T. Washington’s Earl Norfleet during an Eastern Region Tournament quarterfinal game Wednesday night at Norfolk Scope. The Bookers opened up a big lead with a 24-7 run in the first half and went on to an 89-49 win. Nansemond River finishes the season as season champs of the Southeastern District and with a 21-6 record.

NORFOLK — For the second straight season, Nansemond River’s boys basketball team reached Norfolk Scope and the quarterfinals of the Eastern Region Tournament.

For the second time, the Warriors ran into a bigger, stronger and older squad in the final eight.

Booker T. Washington (23-4) used its height and power in the paint plus tossed in 10 three-pointers to cruise to an 89-49 win over Nansemond River (21-6).

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Nansemond River head coach Ed Young gave the Bookers plenty of credit, but admitted his Warriors could’ve done more to stay in the game.

“It’s hard to defend quickness or size. It’s really hard to guard quickness and size and their guards were quick, had size and could shoot,” Young said.

The Warriors seemed to weather one Booker rally right out of the blocks.

With Brandon Self’s three-point play in the lane and Quintin Upshur’s three-pointer, the Bookers led 6-0 0:54 into the game.

The Warriors answered as senior Ashton Moore, NR’s leading scorer, knocked down a three-pointer and a long deuce to make it 9-7 BTW.

The Bookers ran off nine straight points, getting basically whatever they wanted to around the basket. The Bookers had two or three interior players on the floor at all times bigger than anyone the Warriors could match them with.

“Their size killed us, absolutely killed us,” Young said. “They were getting third and fourth opportunities every time down and we never got second chances.”

The Bookers built a 33-14 lead by the 4:15 mark of the second period. The Warriors tried taking a little momentum with them into the half as Moore drained a three-pointer with 0:10 left to make it 36-23 BTW.

BTW’s Troy Mills, who came off the bench to hit 5-of-6 three-pointers, hit one of his triples with 0:04 left and the Bookers led 39-23 at the half.

The Warriors made their first five shots of the third period and were sparked by some defensive pressure and steals by Shannon Evans and Dontrell Brite. A hoop by Brite brought NR within 46-34.

NR’s run only proved to reignite the Bookers on both ends of the court. A 15-0 Booker run during the next four minutes put the game out of reach.

The Bookers had five players hit double-figure scoring, led by Upshur with 18 points. The Bookers won the rebound category 60-38.

“We had five turnovers versus Kecoughtan (in the regional first round) and 19 tonight. You can’t beat good teams giving them the ball,” Young said.

“I’m disappointed with this game. When you lose by 40 points there’s no reason to be positive. But out of this season, I’ll take that we are district champs. We won 21 games and we rightfully returned to being the flagship program of the district,” Young said. “It wasn’t fun finishing fourth the last two years.”

Moore finished with 18 points. Brite added 13 points.

Moore, Jemal Cannon and Eryck Robinson were the only seniors on NR’s 15-man roster.