Warriors take rival game in tourney
Published 10:32 pm Saturday, December 30, 2017
By Matthew Hatfield
Nansemond River High School’s boys’ basketball team took the court on Friday night against rival Lakeland High School and notched just their second win in nine meetings with the Cavaliers, 73-57.
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The loss dropped Lakeland to 1-7 overall on the season, while Nansemond River upped its mark to 3-6, securing a spot in the championship game of the King’s Fork Holiday Tournament on Saturday night.
“To come together as one and beat a cross-city team, it means a lot,” said Nansemond River junior forward Jeremiah Lewis.
The Warriors led practically from start to finish, building a 17-point lead before halftime and increasing the margin to as much as 22. Lakeland failed to get within single digits in the second half, with the Warriors forcing an inexperienced Cavs team starting four sophomores and a freshman into 24 turnovers.
“The kids executed pretty much throughout the whole game. We might turn it over, miss foul shots, or even miss a lay-up here or there, but the thing I’ve really tried to emphasize is we have to be able to stop people. We did that in this game, much more than we have all year,” said Warriors coach Ed Young.
“We were able to not only get turnovers, but also convert them,” Young added. “That’s really how you get runs going. I told the kids we also shared the ball very well, even giving up potential shots they could’ve or should’ve taken to give it to a teammate. It fueled our defense to play even more excited and was probably our most consistent performance to date.”
Nansemond River had 20 assists on 27 field goals and pounded the backboards in the form of 20 offensive rebounds. Lewis was the catalyst, registering 19 points on 8-of-12 shooting and 12 rebounds.
“I wanted to go in and get rebounds, pass it out to my teammates and play as hard as I can,” Lewis said after recording his sixth straight double-double.
“Coming into the season, I thought Jeremiah was good enough to do that on a regular basis and average about 15 points, maybe 10 boards a game,” Young noted. “Even though he struggled at first because we’re asking him to play a position he’s not used to, he’s producing. He’s crafty with the ball inside. He’s found his niche, and I hope we can keep relying on that for the rest of the season.”
Another key contributor for the Warriors was guard Josh Hale, who handed out nine assists and made four steals.
“As a senior, I just want to make sure that when I lead, everybody has good flow in the game and can score,” Hale pointed out. “Our saying in the locker room after last game was that this is a new season. Now we’re on a two-game winning streak, and I feel like this can propel us.”
For Lakeland in defeat, Clint Wright Jr. was their high scorer with nine points. Quentin Livingston grabbed nine rebounds.
Next up for Nansemond River is a matchup against Armstrong, a 63-54 victor over host King’s Fork, in the tourney’s championship game.
“We have to come with the same energy we did today, play together as a unit and just know that we’re the underdog with nothing to lose,” remarked Hale on what they’ll need to do in order to come away victorious.
It’ll be a major challenge for the Warriors, given that Armstrong is ranked ninth in the state in Class 3 by VirginiaPreps.com, and the Wildcats have won three in a row.
“Armstrong is a much more physical, bigger team. A win over them would go a long way for us, because they are a very good, ranked team,” Young added. “We lost somewhat close to them last year. We’re trying to get better day-by-day collectively, as well as improve individually so that we can talk about extra games later.”