Bruins steal Senior Night from Warriors

Published 10:48 pm Friday, February 1, 2013

It was Senior Night at Nansemond River High School on Thursday, and the Warriors were primed to put on a show for the River Rowdies and senior parents against Western Branch, which had brought its own fans, the Bruin Crazies.

After carrying a double digit lead into the fourth quarter, however, the Warriors lost the lead, forcing overtime where they lost the game, at the buzzer, 75-74, sending the visiting team’s boosters swarming onto the court.

Nansemond River senior forward Ed Drew splits the Western Branch defense on Thursday night. The Bruins left victorious, defeating the host Warriors 75-74 in overtime.

“I have never been so angry and embarrassed as I am on this loss to a team (that) simply is not our equal,” Nansemond River head coach Ed Young said. “They didn’t win the game as much as we lost it.”

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Young cited two double-digit leads the Warriors blew, including a 52-40 advantage to start the final period. With just under five minutes to go, the lead had shrunk to 60-58.

The Bruins hit a three-pointer with 3:23 remaining to take the lead, 61-60. Then Nansemond River junior guard Devon Oakley, who had a stellar game on offense, made a driving shot. Western Branch responded for two, after which Oakley made a free throw to tie things at 63.

The Warriors exhibited impressive defense in the final 1:32 of the fourth period, most of which was spent keeping the Bruins’ ball handlers on the perimeter, preventing any clear shot or pass. After an eventual miss, the Warriors heaved a long pass, but the mad scramble for possession streamed into the end of regulation.

In overtime, Nansemond River fell behind by two, initially, but senior forward Ed Drew drained a couple free throws, tying it at 65. The Bruins hit a free throw, and then the teams traded baskets and one-point leads.

Oakley hit a three-pointer with about a minute and a half to go, for a 70-68 advantage. Western Branch tied it again, but Oakley responded for two. With 22.6 seconds to go, the Warriors fouled the Bruins as they scored. The free throw gave Western Branch a 73-72 lead.

Then, senior guard Khalil Carroll, who also had an outstanding night on offense, was fouled with 11.8 seconds remaining. He calmly sank two free throws for the one-point lead, and Young called a timeout to prepare for the final possession.

The Bruins briefly held the ball up top and then passed to the wing where C.J. Thomas fired up a three-pointer that missed. There were no Warriors players in position to rebound, however, leaving Desmond Johnson open for the easy tip-in right as time expired. The Bruin Crazies rushed onto the floor to mob Johnson and the team.

“The last thing we said in that final timeout before their tip-in — ‘Keep the play in front of you and BOX out!’” Young stated.

The loss wasted a 23-point, four-rebound, three-assist and three-steal effort by Oakley. Carroll had 20 points on 8-of-13 shooting with six assists and three steals. Though Drew’s minutes were again limited due to early foul trouble, he still managed a double-double of 12 points and 10 boards. Senior forward Kendric Washington had seven points, 11 rebounds and four blocks.

In a rare occurrence for the Warriors, they were out-rebounded, 47-40.

Bruins’ senior forward Jashad Jamison had a monster night with a career-high 24 points to go with 17 rebounds.

Both teams were on target for much of the night as Nansemond River shot 50 percent from the field and Western Branch hit 52 percent of its attempts.

Thursday’s game drops the Warriors to 13-6 overall and 10-5 in the district and saddles them with their first back-to-back losses of the season, not counting the forfeits of two games at the beginning of the year due to player eligibility issues.

On Friday, Nansemond River played Oscar Smith on the road.