Ambassadors Take Down Warriors in Season Opener

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Nandua head coach Trelle Warner (bottom) and coach Lionell Watson discuss the game plan for stopping the 3-pointer in the first half. Photo by Brennan Waldorf.

By Brennan Waldorf

The Nandua Warriors basketball season tipped off this week on Dec. 3 against Norfolk Christian in Onley.

The boys team has a new head coach in Trelle Warner who has hopes of taking down the Eastern Shore title and making a run in the region. Coach Warner is new at Nandua but not in coaching, hailing from Arcadia after two years of assisting with the varsity squad and working as the bench boss for the junior varsity squad. The first-year coach and assistant coach Lionell Watson are planning on playing a lot of small ball to utilize the team’s speed and quickness to offset the team’s height and size disadvantages.

Coach Warner said “boxing out and communication” will be the key to the team’s success based off the talent on the squad. The Warriors have a good core, returning three of their starters from last year and have several strong players in its sophomore and junior class. They will lean on junior 2018-19 All-District player Gerald Pitt for scoring as the hybrid player will see several roles this season. Sophomore Malik Battle will be the Warriors’ floor general at the one (point guard) with the team being led by senior captains AhkTavius Harmon and Tremere Summerville.

The boys tipped off at 7:30 and were facing a much larger Ambassador squad but more then held their own in the paint against the 6’8” center Hunter Rickman. The Warriors got to the basket on offense with an intense physicality while also boxing out and ripping rebounds out of the reach of Norfolk Christian. Scoring opened up after the Ambassadors won the tip off and hit a three but Nandua quickly answered with a score of its own with a layup from Harmon. The first half of the game was a thriller with both teams trading points and finding its grove with a  minuscule amount of penalties for the beginning of the season. The Warriors were down at the half 41-31 due to the strong perimeter shooting by the Ambassadors who hit seven threes and were led by Malik Tompkins who finished with 22 points.

But the game wasn’t out of reach as the Warriors’ defense stiffened and didn’t allow another three in the contest. The second half saw the Warriors just slightly off with several shots rattling out of the rim leaving the crowd awing. Gerald Pitt led the Warriors in scoring with 15 points but did most of his scoring in the first half with only one basket in the second. Jaquan Jones added a nice change of pace in the half, playing with a high energy, forcing several turnovers and fighting for rebounds. He led scoring in the last quarter for the Warriors and finished the game with 7 points, while senior AhkTavius Harmon put six on the board in the second half and finished with 12 points total.

The Warriors put together a tremendous effort on the night and went into lockdown mode on defense in the second half. They were down 47-40 going into the fourth quarter but missed calls and shots not falling ultimately led to their demise. They lost 62-48 and will travel to Chincoteague to face the Ponies on their home court Dec. 10 for a 7 p.m. tipoff.

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