Warriors retake lost ground

Published 1:07 pm Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Nansemond River High School’s boys’ basketball team completed the regular season on Saturday by grabbing back first place in the Ironclad Conference with a 76-70 win over host Heritage High School.

Both the Warriors and Hurricanes finished the regular season 8-2 in the conference, but Nansemond River owns the tie-breaker, making it the No. 1 seed in this week’s conference tournament.

Saturday’s win was important retribution for the Warriors after a confidence-rattling 70-55 home loss to Heritage earlier this season, in which the Hurricanes broke open a close game in the third quarter.

Newsletter

Email newsletter signup

Nansemond River trailed by one after the first period on Saturday and by two at halftime, but in the second half, “We really did a lot of good things,” Warriors head coach Ed Young said.

Senior Devon Oakley had 25 points for the game and senior Daniel Wallace recorded his fourth straight double-double — and 14th for the season — with 20 points and 13 rebounds. Junior Scott Spencer added 15 points.

Nansemond River concluded the season on a five-game winning streak to go 19-3 overall while the Hurricanes finished 17-5.

On Friday, the day before, the Warriors traveled to Denbigh High School and produced their highest point-total in a game this season with a 91-54 win.

Realizing a win against the Patriots and a win on Saturday would grant them the No. 1 tournament seed, the Warriors played with a lot of enthusiasm, and “really bought into our defensive schemes,” Young said. “We didn’t rush the ball on offense, which we’ve been doing lately.”

The Warriors got off to a 23-15 start, and their defense picked up in the second quarter, producing a 47-24 halftime advantage. In the first half, NR forced 13 of Denbigh’s 21 turnovers for the game.

Nansemond River shot 54 percent from the floor (32-for-59) and was unselfish, as 21 of those 32 field goals were assisted. Every member of the team scored, except for senior Marvin Branch, who was rested early in the blowout and did not score before then.

Spencer ended up with 25 points, five boards and two blocks, Oakley had 20 points, five boards, four assists and three steals and Wallace had 15 points, 10 rebounds and four blocks. Senior Jalen Warren registered 13 points, seven assists and two steals.

The Warriors also had 12 blocked shots as a team against the Patriots, tying a season high, and 40 defensive deflections, setting a season high.

No. 1 Nansemond River plays No. 4 Lakeland High School (11-12) in the conference tournament semifinals on Wednesday at King’s Fork High School, with tip-off scheduled for 7:30 p.m.