Warriors pull off a needed win

Published 7:14 pm Tuesday, January 20, 2015

By Matthew Hatfield


Having lost eight of their last 10 games and four in a row, the Nansemond River Warriors were looking for any win that they could get. On Saturday, they traveled to Virginia Beach to take on the Kempsville Chiefs in a non-conference matchup.

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It took more than four quarters to settle the outcome, with the Warriors coming out on top with a 77-70 overtime victory.

“There were a lot of peaks and valleys in that one,” coach Ed Young said. “When we played well, we played really well. When we played bad, we looked horrendous.”

The win put his team at 7-8 overall.

“Even though our defense was bad, we had about 25 or 26 deflections,” Young said. “We were tipping balls, which is a sign of being aggressive, but there are times we’re out of position on defense, and that’s something we have to work on to limit teams from getting so many easy buckets. We just have to learn how to play with leads.”

Nansemond River got up by as many as 11 in the third quarter before the Chiefs stormed back with a 9-1 spurt to close the period and trim their deficit to 54-51. Kempsville opened the fourth quarter on a 10-3 run to claim a 61-57 advantage following a three-point play from Chris Chaney.

The nephew of former NBA standout J.R. Reid, Chaney ended up with 29 points on 12-of-21 shooting from the floor and 13 rebounds. But the Warriors were able to hold him to only two field goals in the fourth quarter and overtime.

With 15 seconds left in regulation, junior guard Josh Covington scored on a runner to tie the game at 63, and a three-point shot at the buzzer bounced off the side of the rim for the Chiefs.

Covington, who averages about 18 points per game, led the Warriors with 24 points off the bench, converting 9-of-10 at the free-throw line in the extra session.

The three-point shot helped the Warriors end their losing skid. They were 11-for-23 from beyond the arc, including junior guard Darius Jones going a perfect 4-of-4.

“We’re a streaky team that lives by the 3 and dies by the 3, which is a very different characteristic of teams that I have coached,” Young said. “We’ve got guys that can shoot it, but lately we’ve not been hitting those shots. When they’re not hitting, you’ve got to defend and at times we don’t defend very well.”

Senior forward Matt Allmond bunched 14 of his 21 points in the first quarter to bolt the Warriors to a 23-17 lead. He also grabbed a team-high eight rebounds.

“Matt played very similar in this one to how he did in South Carolina; first quarter of both games he hit shots like crazy,” Young said. “As soon as we got back home, he went into a slump. In this game, I thought he got out of it and we’re going to look to him for consistency.”

Although the Warriors are still winless in Ironclad Conference play heading into a home tilt with city rival Lakeland on Jan. 23, Young feels better about his squad showing resolve to pull out a close win on the road than in their previous losses during the past week to Heritage and Denbigh.

“It’s a year where we don’t really emphasize record,” Young added. “I’ve said all year that we have to be good at the end of January going into February like everybody else has to be — but especially us, because we’re not a marquee team. I think if we can get our wits about us and confidence, we can be a problem for teams come playoff time.”