Warriors take showcase game

Published 9:51 pm Tuesday, January 8, 2019

By Matthew Hatfield


Though it’s only early January, the race to the playoffs is on for the three Suffolk public schools.

Email newsletter signup

For the likes of King’s Fork and Lakeland, qualifying for regional play at the Class 4 and Class 3 level is arguably not as difficult for the simple reason that they take more than eight teams. In Nansemond River’s case, being one of the top eight teams in a very deep Class 5 field is no easy chore.

Nonetheless, the Warriors on Saturday took an important step in being around for postseason play. Nansemond River clipped fellow Class 5 member Kempsville, 66-55, in the Western Branch Hoops Showcase in Chesapeake on Saturday. Kempsville came in at 8-4 overall.

Wasting no time to grab control, Nansemond River jumped out to an 8-2 lead behind a pair of three-pointers from Rayshawn Murray to force the Chiefs to call a time-out barely three minutes into the contest. Shooting more than 57 percent from the field, the Warriors led 20-12 at the end of the opening period.

In the second quarter, things got rockier for Nansemond River. They shot only 25 percent from the field, 4-of-16, and got outscored by the Chiefs 13-8 over the eight-minute stretch. That cut their lead down to a mere three points, 28-25, by intermission.

To open the second half, consecutive three-pointers from Murray and Jamal Boone pushed the Warriors back up by nine points to create some breathing room. Coach Ed Young’s squad also applied swarming full-court pressure to turn Kempsville over seven times in the third period. Murray and Jakari Joy combined for five steals in the second half.

Shot-blocking proved evident for the Warriors as well. Nansemond River rejected nine Kempsville shots, with Jeremiah Lewis blocking three and Justin Fatherly swatting away two.

Just when Nansemond River thought they had pulled away from Kempsville with a 10-0 run to start the third quarter, the Chiefs answered with an 8-0 spurt. Helping wrestle the momentum back was Warriors reserve Myron Brown, providing eight points and a couple of key rebounds. His contributions helped push their lead back up to double-figures, 48-35, going into the fourth quarter.

In the final stanza, Kempsville would get no closer than eight points down as the Warriors converted crucial free throws. For the game, Nansemond River was 9-of-11 from the foul line, including 6-of-8 in the fourth quarter.

To lead Nansemond River, Murray finished with 19 points on 7-of-13 shooting along with five assists, four rebounds and three steals. Jeremiah Lewis posted 12 points and six rebounds. Boone chipped in 10 points. The Warriors shot 50 percent from the field and out-rebounded a taller Kempsville team on the inside, 31-30.

With the win, Nansemond River moved above the .500 mark at 6-5 overall before its game against King’s Fork on Jan. 8.