Warriors run past Grizzlies in opener

Published 10:51 pm Friday, December 2, 2011

Nansemond River senior Shannon Evans goes to the basket on a Warrior fast break during Friday’s season opener versus Grassfield. Evans led the Warriors with 23 points as NR won 71-42.

Nansemond River’s opening basketball game was close for about seven minutes. From a 12-12 tie with visiting Grassfield, the Warriors fired up their defense and the pace to go on a 23-1 run during the next six minutes. The end result was a 71-42 win for the Warriors heading into what promises to be a real contest at city rival King’s Fork Tuesday night.

Senior shooting guard Shannon Evans led the Warriors with 23 points. He sparked the huge run in the closing seconds of the first period, hitting a three-pointer, then getting a steal on the ensuing Warrior full-court trapping, leading to another jumper and a 17-12 Warrior edge.

Evans lobbed a 35-foot alley-oop for Jay Melendez to lay into the hoop for a 24-12 NR lead and a Grizzly timeout with 5:57 showing in the second period.

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Evans added a dunk and a reverse lay-in, coming seconds apart on a pair of Grizzly turnovers, to make it 28-12. Center John Joyce’s dunk made it 30-13. Kyle Moore’s jumper, off another steal forced by Warrior pressing, took NR’s lead up to 35-13. The Warriors led 37-18 at halftime.

Warrior point guard Dontrell Brite finished the night with two points but his steals, speed and slick passing set up a lot of what led to the rout.

“He’s a leader. He’s our point guard. He controls the tempo of the game for us out there,” Evans said about his backcourt mate. “Making assists, that’s just what he does for us,” Evans said.

The Warrior defense kept coming in waves in the second half, totaling 36 Grizzly turnovers for the game.

Brite, Evans and the Warrior guards focused more on feeding their big guys in the second half. Joyce scored 10 of his 12 points in the second half.

Daniel Wallace and Michael Copeland piled up the boards on the offensive end but missed shots around the hoop hurt the Warriors throughout the game. NR got away with it after the 23-1 streak. The Bulldogs probably won’t give the Warriors the same margin of error.

“We can’t miss shots like we did. There’s no way we can miss like that. We’re going to have to finish easy buckets because (King’s Fork) is a good team and they’re going to make us work,” said Nansemond River head coach Ed Young.

Brite finished with 12 steals and 10 assists. Evans, Melendez and Warren Beatty added four steals each. Copeland led the Warriors with 10 boards.

“The way we play, we want to create havoc, to create easy buckets and we did that pretty well tonight,” Young said.