Warriors lose a thriller

Published 11:56 pm Friday, December 30, 2016

Nansemond River and Armstrong high schools provided a high-energy opener for the King’s Fork holiday tournament on Thursday.

Both teams went back and forth in a high-scoring effort, but the Wildcats got the best of the Warriors, winning 85-79.

Armstrong had the lead after the first quarte, but the Warriors were able to fight back and even take the lead going into halftime.

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“We shared the ball extremely well and got out in transition,” NRHS assistant coach Craig Frost said. “Our pressure defense was good early on. That’s actually what got us in position to take the lead.”

But the Warriors could not hold the lead, as a solid second-half effort by the Wildcats secured the win for them.

Frost filled in for head coach Ed Young, who was out due to illness. Frost liked the way the team competed.

“We competed well, and we played hard,” he said. “We were aggressive, and our approach was good. We had a good mindset going into the game, and the guys gave all they had.”

The Warriors had big games out of Tyler Chatman and Vidal Wilkins, who combined for 30 points. In total the Warriors had three players in double figures and several other players who were close.

“V.J and I were just the ones with the hot hands,” Chatman said. “Our teammates were able to find us.”

Nansemond River has lost the last two games by a combined eight points, and the coaching staff feels that if the boys can clean up their mistakes and defensive miscues they can start pulling out those close games.

“We’re a really young team,” Frost said. “We just have to clean up the little mistakes we are making at the end of the game, and that’ll get us over the hump. Grabbing lose balls and grabbing key rebounds will have to be something we are going to have to improve on. Getting that key stop when we need it is going to turn into wins for us.”

The Warriors want to go into the new year with some momentum.

“Coach Young mentioned to us that our season hasn’t even started yet,” player Josh Hale said. “We haven’t played any conference games yet so we can still make something of our season. I’m confident that we will be a different team in the new year.”