Bishop Sullivan takes NSA

Published 11:36 pm Friday, January 23, 2015

The Nansemond-Suffolk Academy boys’ basketball team got the challenge it expected from host Bishop Sullivan Catholic High School on Thursday evening, and the Crusaders eventually ran away with a 73-49 win.

“Another really tough opponent last night,” NSA coach Chris Prince said on Friday.

It was the second consecutive time this week the Saints were facing off against a high-caliber opponent in the Tidewater Conference of Independent Schools, after suffering a 67-35 defeat at the hands of visiting Norfolk Collegiate School on Tuesday.

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“Bishop Sullivan’s a really big team,” Prince said.

He noted the members of the Crusaders’ front court stood at 6 feet 10 inches, 6 feet 9 inches and 6 feet 4 inches, so he and the Saints knew they were going up against a team that was going to rebound well.

Just like the Norfolk Collegiate game, “We played a really good first quarter,” Prince said.

The Saints trailed only 16-15 at the end of the period.

“We were able to get both of those big guys in foul trouble,” the coach said.

This came about largely because of Nansemond-Suffolk senior C.J. Patterson, who was able to penetrate inside against them, Prince said. Patterson finished with eight rebounds and a game-high 19 points, though he was the only NSA player in double figures.

Ultimately, the coach affirmed the deciding factor of the game was the Crusaders’ size and athleticism, which extended beyond their starting lineup.

“They’re loaded,” he said. “They’ve got athletes galore.”

Though they were forced to take out their big men for part of the game, the Crusaders still had 6 feet 6 inch and 6 feet 7 inch players to replace them, Prince said.

Nansemond-Suffolk stayed in the game early by employing the same game plan it used against Norfolk Collegiate.

“We can play smart and slow the pace down for stretches, but we just weren’t able to get consistent throughout the game,” Prince said.

He noted Bishop Sullivan was successful most of the time in getting NSA to take shots for which it should not have been settling.

“They were picking us up full court, man-to-man,” Prince said, which made life difficult for the Saints’ primary ball handler, senior Drew Corrigan.

But the coach was pleased with his team’s spirit and effort as he said, “The kids were never embarrassed, they were in the ballgame, and we fought hard to the last buzzer.”

Prince assured he has been preaching to his players about having and keeping heart in games against formidable opponents like the Mighty Oaks and the Crusaders.

“We need to be mentally tough to make sure the next possession is something we’ll be proud of,” he said.

The Saints (5-10, 0-3) have one more opportunity to compete this week as they host Hampton Christian School tonight.

“They’ve already played 24 games, and they’ve had some pretty big wins,” Prince said of the Warriors, who are 14-10 overall.

He also noted they are another tall squad, with six players that are 6 feet 4 inches or taller.

“Hopefully these two tough losses against these really good opponents will make us a little bit more battle-tested tomorrow night,” Prince said.