Warriors out-pace Tigers

Published 9:03 pm Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Oscar Smith High School offered more of a challenge than the visiting Nansemond River High School boy’s basketball team was expecting on Tuesday night, but the Warriors countered with an above average night themselves, winning 80-71.

For the Tigers, football season just ended after Saturday’s state championship loss, freeing up multi-sport players to begin training for basketball.

“They had their football players back, which we didn’t think they would play today, and that helped them,” NR head coach Ed Young said. “It gave them more depth.”

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The Warriors like to run, but the Tigers joined them, and “they ran fairly well,” Young said.

“Going into this game, people were shooting 33 percent against us,” the coach said. “In this game, they were shooting 42 percent against us.”

Young prefers his team to keep opponents under 50 points.

“Yeah, we gave up more than we like to, but we also scored 80 points,” he said, liking his team’s chances whenever that happens.

He saw the difference in the game being conditioning and also free throw shooting in the fourth quarter. Nansemond River was 10-for-24 from the line in the first three periods, but 11-for-15 in the last one.

When it came to individuals, Warriors senior Devon Oakley was the difference-maker, whom Young described as “by far and away the best player in this game.”

Oakley piled up 26 points, eight rebounds, four assists, seven steals and three blocks. When shadowing Tigers’ leading scorer Donald Hicks in the first half, Oakley held him to two field goals.

Junior Scott Spencer also had a strong game for Nansemond River, recording 21 points, 10 rebounds, three assists and three blocks.

The Warriors would have preferred having 6-foot-8-inch senior Daniel Wallace on court but played well without him. Wallace was serving a suspension after having been ejected from last Friday’s contest against Lakeland High School due to an exchange with Cavaliers sophomore Jaquan Yulee that bordered on being physical.

Filling in for him were three different players. Senior Christian Dillard started and had a nice first quarter. Senior Adrian Coleman came off the bench and had 10 points and seven boards. Senior Jalen Ruffin also contributed with five boards and three blocks.

Senior Jalen Warren continued his solid production with 10 points, five assists and three steals.

Young has been able to utilize his bench this season. Tuesday’s game was the sixth of the season and fifth with a different starting lineup, this one featuring Dillard and junior Paul Hall.

“We’ve had 12 of our 13 kids start, and our 13th kid will start on Saturday,” Young said, referring to freshman Kevin Davis.

Before Saturday’s game at Smithfield High School, Nansemond River (6-0, 1-0) will visit King’s Fork High School (5-1, 1-0) tonight.