Saints’ offense fails to come through

Published 10:05 pm Friday, January 18, 2013

Nansemond-Suffolk junior guard Jackson DeMello attempts to save the offensive possession before falling out of bounds against Greenbrier Christian Academy on Thursday night. The visiting Gators defeated the Saints 51-36 in the first game of conference play.

The Nansemond-Suffolk boys’ basketball team produced some admirable defense against visiting Greenbrier Christian, but it could not add enough offense to win the game, dropping Thursday night’s conference opener 51-36.

The Saints trailed 26-10 at halftime, but held the Gators scoreless for the first five minutes of the third quarter. In that time span, however, the Saints scored only three points, and a three-pointer by Greenbrier Christian instantly matched it.

“We did a great job defensively and really got a lot of stops early on, which could have gotten us back in the game,” NSA head coach Randolph Davis said. “Again, we just couldn’t put the ball in the basket.”

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The opportunities to score were there, and Davis expressed satisfaction with his team’s shot selection. But the inability to finish shots successfully that has plagued the Saints this year, and Davis has had difficulty coming up with a solution for it.

“I don’t know, honestly,” he said. “We’ve tried everything we can. I keep saying it’s got to be confidence, and it’s just concentration.”

In the strong defensive third quarter, NSA still managed to outscore the Gators just 8-7. The offense had more success in the fourth quarter, scoring 18, but the Gators were able to match that output to keep the Saints from getting any closer.

Though NSA will finish the regular season with an overall losing record, it got a boost from being able to treat its first conference game as the beginning of a new season.

“That’s kind of the way we approached it,” Davis said. “We started the (season), and then we started 2013, and now we’re starting the conference schedule. So, yeah, we’ve approached it from that way that we’re actually kind of in a nine-game season now.”

NSA freshman guard/forward Logan Lokie led his team with 11 points and three steals. Junior forward John Hogan was in foul trouble and had to sit out a fair amount of the time, but he scored 10 points, all in the fourth quarter, and grabbed six rebounds.

Junior forward Steven Minter had a good game, with eight points and nine rebounds. Freshman guard Morgan Wentz had five points and three assists and has been a consistent presence in the back court for the Saints this season.

The play of freshmen like Lokie and Wentz gives Davis and NSA reason to be hopeful about where the program can go from here.

“We have three seniors on the team now, but mostly we’re playing underclassmen,” Davis said. “The (junior varsity) team has some pretty good players coming along, so, yeah, I think we should get better.”

The Saints (1-17, 0-1) visit Walsingham Academy on Tuesday.