Warriors handed first loss

Published 10:22 pm Tuesday, January 14, 2014

By Matthew Hatfield

Special to the News-Herald

Led by University of Florida Gators signee Devin Robinson, the Christchurch Seahorses unseated Nansemond River High School’s previously unbeaten boys’ basketball team Saturday in the sixth annual VirginiaPreps.com Basketball Classic at Green Run High School.

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Nansemond River, which had been ranked No. 1 in the state in Group 4A, fell 74-61 in a game that featured a couple of head-spinning runs.

Nansemond River trailed by two at the end of the first quarter and had led for portions of the period. Things drastically changed in the second quarter, when the Warriors were outscored 22-8. Christchurch guard Julian Reed was the spark, making his first six shots on his way to scoring 16 points in the first half.

“We lost people in transition, didn’t hit jumpers, relied on the jump shot and got a little doubtful in what we were doing,” NRHS coach Ed Young said. “They were the first team I can say all year whose length really hurt us. They exposed our cracks, our chinks in the armor.”

Behind senior swingman Devon Oakley and junior wing Scott Spencer, the Warriors would put together a hot streak of their own in the third quarter. Nansemond River outscored Christchurch 25-15 in the third period to cut into the 16-point deficit and pull to 56-50 entering the fourth quarter.

Oakley finished with 24 points on 9-of-20 shooting to go with three steals, and Spencer added 19 points on 8-for-20 from the field, nine rebounds, three assists and three blocks.

“They weren’t bad. Both shot about 20 times, which is about what they’re supposed to, and their play was average to pretty good,” remarked Young. “Scott and Devon both went a little over their [scoring] average, but our bench gave us nothing offensively, and every game this year we stopped our opponents’ top guy and this game we didn’t. We didn’t have a third option.”

A steal and basket by Spencer with 5:46 remaining trimmed the Christchurch lead to four. However, the tide would quickly turn again. Wasted possessions by the Warriors midway through the fourth quarter, accompanied by impact plays from the Seahorses’ five-star recruit, allowed Christchurch to re-gain control.

Robinson, named the game’s MVP, filled the stat sheet with 26 points, 12 rebounds, four steals, three assists and three blocks.

“No question it’s the best shooting team we’ve seen all year and Devin Robinson is the truth. He’s very good. Their first four is as good as anybody we’ll play, and better than a lot of teams’ starting five, that’s a guarantee,” Young said.

This week, Nansemond River returns to conference play in the Ironclad with a couple of matchups against Peninsula District schools, including a showdown with Heritage from Newport News on Jan. 17.

“Our goal wasn’t to go undefeated. Maybe it is for some teams that are really good and don’t play anybody,” said Young. “I knew we were going to play too many good teams, and based on who we played couldn’t believe we made it this far undefeated.”