NSA splits games in return of Classic
Published 12:13 pm Tuesday, December 24, 2013
Playing in the revival of the Nansemond-Suffolk Academy Holiday Classic, the host boys’ basketball team and Southampton Academy helped close out the two-day event with a thriller on Saturday.
The Saints executed a dominant 64-47 win over Alliance Christian Academy on Friday, but the contest against the Raiders was a back-and-forth game, requiring overtime to determine a victor.
With 4.6 seconds left in the extra session, Southampton senior guard Cam Hines dribbled the length of the floor and hit a runner with two NSA players in his face as the buzzer went off for a 56-55 win.
Email newsletter signup
“That was a fun game,” Saints head coach David Mitchell said, despite his disappointment over the loss. He saw it as two good, equally-matched teams.
“We were trailing 19-15 at halftime, and we were able to put together a decent little run in the third quarter,” Mitchell said.
Entering the fourth, the Raiders still led 34-31, but the Saints gained confidence from their offensive success, having scored more points in the third quarter than in the entire first half.
The final period featured some of the game’s wildest swings.
“We actually had a six-point lead with about a minute and a half to go,” Mitchell said. Then, Raiders senior forward Tonee Hill, who scored a game-high 20 points, converted a rare four-point play, after being fouled while hitting a three-pointer.
Another Southampton basket later, the game was tied at 46-46. NSA had the ball with six seconds to go in regulation and got a good look, but the shot would not fall.
Overtime, too, was a back-and-forth affair.
With six seconds remaining and trailing by one, the Saints looked to their player with the hot hand, sophomore guard Morgan Wentz. He was fouled with 4.6 seconds to go and scored the last two of his team-leading 19 points on the foul shots, giving Nansemond-Suffolk a 55-54 lead.
Hines ended up with 11 points after his game-ending drive on the next possession.
On Friday, the Saints took control early, leading the Falcons 20-8 after the first period and 34-15 at halftime.
“It was probably one of our most complete games we’ve played,” Mitchell said. “Once again, our press allowed us to create some turnovers, which led to some easy baskets.”
Thirteen of NSA’s 14 players scored in the game, led by junior guard Drew Corrigan with 15 points.
“Corrigan had his best game of the year,” Mitchell said.
Junior forward C.J. Patterson added 14 points, and senior center Matt Newhall had eight.
The one negative to come out of the game was the loss of senior center John Hogan. He sprained his ankle in the second half and will likely be out for a few weeks.
NSA director of boys’ athletics T. W. Johnson was excited to resurrect the Classic, relishing the convenience of holding an event at home and giving the Saints an important learning experience.
“It’s the first one we’ve done in quite some time, so I’m glad it’s an event we’re hosting again,” Johnson said. “It kind of provides a post-season tournament feel to it where you’re playing games on back-to-back days.”
Mitchell agreed. He said it should help prepare for a Friday/Saturday tourney in January at The Steward School in Richmond and “also for our conference tournament at the end of the year.”
The Holiday Classic featured four teams, including Hampton Roads Academy, and many NSA alumni were present in the stands, home on Christmas break. After the event was over, Johnson was already thinking of how it will grow.
“All in all, I thought the attendance was solid, and I think once we do it for a few more years and the word gets out and they understand it’s a quality event, I think the attendance will continue to go up,” he said.
Nansemond-Suffolk (4-3) returns to action Jan. 7 at Hampton Roads Academy.