NSA tops Lady Crusaders

Published 9:16 pm Wednesday, January 20, 2016

The Nansemond-Suffolk Academy girls’ basketball team was able to maintain a comfortable lead for the majority of its contest against host Bishop Sullivan Catholic High School on Tuesday, cruising to a 64-46 win.

“I felt like our guards were far superior to their guards,” Lady Saints coach Kim Aston said. “They have mostly post players on their team, so we were able to get out in transition and run the fast break. We scored a lot of points in transition.”

Nansemond-Suffolk senior guard Harper Birdsong led all scorers with 30 points, adding 12 rebounds, three steals and two assists.

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“They started out in man-to-man (defense), and Harper kind of picked them apart,” Aston said, and even after the Lady Crusaders went to a zone defense, Birdsong continued to shoot well. “I thought it was a good offensive night for Harper.”

NSA held a 25-13 lead after the first quarter but was outscored 9-4 in the second, making it 29-22 at the half. The Lady Saints won the third quarter 27-11 to take a commanding 56-33 lead going into the fourth.

“Everyone got to play last night,” Aston said on Wednesday. “Caroline (Hogg) wasn’t there. She wasn’t at school, and so Abby Herrod started in her place, and so we went with a smaller lineup.”

This meant that Nansemond-Suffolk really had to step up defensively.

“The bulk of their team is made up of post players, and so we had some kids that were really guarding kids that were bigger than they were,” Aston said. “I thought that Abby played really good defense on their point guard. So, I think that defensively, we made it pretty tough for them to score.”

Herrod, a sophomore, guarded junior Madison Moran, who was one of Bishop Sullivan’s two main offensive threats. Moran shot only 25 percent from the field, finishing with 10 points.

Herrod also finished with 10 points but on 80-percent shooting, adding three assists and two rebounds.

Lady Crusaders junior Kristen DiBuono led her team with 23 points.

Aston praised the play of Lady Saints junior Kelly Hogan, who produced 14 points, 16 rebounds, four steals and two assists.

“Most impressively she shot 8-for-9 from the free throw line, and she started the year not shooting well at all from the free throw line,” the coach said.

As a team, NSA went 13-for-16 from the charity stripe, shooting 81 percent, which Aston said is “just about as good as you’re going to get in high school.”

Lady Saints junior Logan Harrell led her team with six assists, while junior Lindsay Knierbein had eight rebounds and four points.

Nansemond-Suffolk (13-2, 0-0) will begin official Tidewater Conference of Independent Schools regular season play on Thursday when it hosts Hampton Roads Academy.