NRHS boys nip Bulldogs

Published 7:49 pm Saturday, December 1, 2012

Nansemond River junior guard Devon Oakley defends King’s Fork senior guard Jacorey Smith during the Warriors’ 72-65 home win on Friday night. Oakley had 19 points, five rebounds, four assists, six steals and three blocks while Smith led the Bulldogs with 27 points.

With their gymnasium filled to capacity and a crowd stuck outside, unable to get into the game, Nansemond River High School’s boys’ basketball team took a senior-heavy cross-town rival to school on Friday.

The young Warriors took thrilled the home crowd by jumping out to an early lead and never surrendering it in a 72-65 win over King’s Fork High School.

Junior guard Devon Oakley led Nansemond River with 19 points, going 9-of-14 from the floor. He also had five rebounds, four assists, six steals and three blocked shots.

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With the big crowd in attendance, Nansemond River head coach Ed Young thought the more experienced, Bulldogs squad would be a huge factor.

“I figured that King’s Fork would handle this atmosphere better,” he said. “It turns out it really fed into us.”

The Warriors jumped out to an 11-2 lead early and took a 20-5 advantage into the second quarter.

King’s Fork head coach Josh Worrell explained that the Warriors did to his team at the beginning what the Bulldogs were hoping to do to their opponents.

“I thought we would be very effective pressing and be very effective making them handle the basketball, and we actually did the opposite,” he said. “They did a great job pressuring us and making us be in positions where we shouldn’t be.”

Nansemond River enjoyed a 38-21 lead at halftime, but the Bulldogs started to take over for much of the third quarter. Young explained that he switched his team’s defense from man-to-man to zone, because he was trying to keep a couple key players from getting into foul trouble to start the half.

“We didn’t really look like we wanted to play zone, and they hit 4-for-4 from the three-point line after not making any threes in the first half, and that’s what really spurred them,” Young said.

In the final minutes of the quarter, the Warriors switched back to the former defensive scheme and went on a run, leading 56-41 when the final period began.

“The fourth quarter was a foul marathon,” Young said. “That’s ridiculous how many times that we put them to the foul line.”

Though the Bulldogs rarely came within 10 points of Nansemond River during the game, they narrowed the lead to 66-57 with 1:36 remaining. However, during the last two and a half minutes of the game, King’s Fork missed eight free throws, going seven for 19 in the quarter.

“Technically, even though we were fouling so much, it really became our best defense, because they kept missing free throws, and we rebounded almost every time,” Young said.

The Warriors held a 59-28 rebounding edge for the game, led by senior forward/guard Kendric Washington, who had 21 rebounds. Young estimated that all of Washington’s 12 points for the game came after offensive rebounds.

“They killed us tonight off the offensive glass,” Worrell said. “When you’re trying to claw back and make it a tight ballgame, that kills you.”

Washington also had 14 defensive deflections, four steals, and three blocks. Senior forward Ed Drew supplied 12 points, 11 rebounds, and five blocks.

Senior guard Jacorey Smith led King’s Fork with 27 points, senior forward Byron Taylor had 13 points and eight rebounds, and senior guard Roderick Parrett scored 11 points.

Worrell tried to focus his team in the wake of its first loss.

“’What are you going to do, how are you going to respond to that loss to make sure it doesn’t happen again quick?’” he asked after the game.

King’s Fork (1-1, 1-1) was set to play Hertford County from Ahoskie, N.C. on Saturday evening, while Nansemond River (2-0, 2-0) heads to Lakeland (3-0, 2-0) on Tuesday night for another cross-town showdown.