Great Bridge Stays Unbeaten in SED Play

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>Knowing that a win on Tuesday night would pretty much
wrap up a second straight Southeastern District regular season title, the Great
Bridge Wildcats weren't going to be denied.
With the Nansemond River Warriors, a team that has won five district
titles since 2005, venturing into Chesapeake, Wildcats seized the opportunity
to complete a sweep of the Suffolk schools, both home and away.

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>Trailing by 10 in the second quarter, that celebration
looked like it might be on hold for Great Bridge.
style=> But the Cats responded with a 13-2 run to
close the first half to grab a one-point lead, proving to be a pivotal stretch
in a 55-51 victory where they erased deficits in each of the game's final three
quarters en route to improving to 16-2 overall, 14-0 in league play.

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>"It was a momentum change," said Great Bridge Head
Basketball Coach Gary
class=SpellE>Obenour of the flurry before the half, which was keyed
by three-pointers from senior Byron
Williams and junior Mark Madison.

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>"They had stuck it to us right at the end of the first
quarter and beginning of the second. I
told the kids during a time-out not to panic, we were taking decent shots,
thought our ball movement wasn't the best, but once we started going inside and
out, hit a couple 3's, it really sparked us.
And I'm very happy with how we played down the stretch."

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>Amazingly, Great Bridge went on that run without junior
guard and star Marcus Evans, who'll
likely take home Southeastern District Player of the Year honors, scoring a
point. Evans experienced some early
struggles in the first half, failing to get to the foul line and scoring just
six points.

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>In the fourth quarter with the game hanging in the
balance, Evans grabbed it by the throat.
He first nailed a three-pointer with 5:40 to go in regulation to knot
the score at 47-apiece. Moments earlier,
his teammate Williams had drained a three-pointer to tie it at 43-all.

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>With a defender right in his grill, Evans came through
again by nailing a jumper with 4:38 to go, pushing the Wildcats' advantage to
52-49. Meanwhile, Nansemond River, which
shot 50% from the field in the first quarter and had made five three-pointers
going into the game's last period, didn't make a field goal the final 4:49 of

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>"I couldn't ask for better teammates," Evans went on to
say. "My teammates did a good job when I
was struggling a little bit in the first half and kept us in the game.
style=> When the fourth quarter came, I knew I had to
step up because they did for me all game, so at that point I had to give them

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>"It's a game of runs and Coach tells us that every
time. We can't get down on ourselves
when a team gets on a run. Even though
they went up by 10, we knew we could play a lot better than we did, and we came
out and showed that, which I think helped us get the victory.
style=> This is a win that will give us confidence
going forward, not only in the district tournament, but hopefully into
regionals, too."

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>While Evans is the star performer for Great Bridge
night in and night out, perhaps the most underrated player in district is
Williams, a potential First Team All-SED selection that has routinely scored in
double-figures this season.

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>Two weeks after fouling on a three-point attempt late
in the game against King's Fork that could've been costly, Williams was near
flawless in crunch time. His game-high
16 points came one of his team's most important games of the season to date.

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>"Somebody had to step up scoring for the team and I
feel like I have that role. It's about
learning, getting better as a player and all of us getting better together as a
team," remarked Williams, who chipped in 11 rebounds as well.

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>"They're a good rebounding team.
style=> They like to shoot and crash the boards, so
we had to find a body, box out quick, go get the rebound and try to push it up
the floor."

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>To start, Great Bridge couldn't find the touch from
long range, misfiring on 14 of their first 15 three-point shots.
style=> Williams got them out of that funk with four

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>"Sometimes Byron gets lost, but we know what we have
here," Obenour added.
style=> "He is a hard-working kid and is the most
improved player we have, and probably is one of the most improved players in
the region. He worked very hard over the
summer, made himself a better basketball player and now Great Bridge is taking
advantage of the fruits of his labor."

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>Nansemond River dropped to 13-5 overall, 10-4 in the
district and third place in the league, despite turning the ball over only
twice the entire second half. The
Warriors didn't have an answer for Great Bridge's terrific tandem on the
perimeter, which combined to make three shots from long distance in the fourth

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>"Simply put, Evans showed why he is the best player in
the district and a top five regional player, and in my mind, a Top 10 All-State
performer," commented Nansemond River Head Basketball Coach
style='mso-bidi-font-weight:normal'>Ed Young afterwards.
style=> "He played so poise, hit key shots when
guarded, made the right pass, got a couple key rebounds and hit the free-throws
as needed. But the Player of the Game
may have been the Williams kid because every shot he hit was big."

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>Even though the district crown is within their sights, Great
Bridge doesn't want to slow down. They
know closing out the regular season strong is of the highest importance, plus
they're trying to win the school's first Southeastern District Tournament title
since 1978.

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>"I still want to win the last four games of this
district. It's not going to be easy and
kids seem to let up when they have a big lead as far as games ahead,"
class=SpellE>Obenour admitted.

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>"We can't afford to do that and I want us to be playing
our best towards the end. We want to get
after the district tournament, we're not letting up, we want to get better and
have momentum going into the regionals."

href="">Postgame Audio with
Great Bridge Coach Gary Obenour
Johnson's Photo Feature on Facebook


Bridge 55:
Byron Williams - - 16Pts. 6-16FG, 4-10 3's, 11Reb. 2Stl.
Marcus Evans - - 15Pts. (7Pts. in 4thQ), 5-13FG, 4-5FT, 3Reb. 3Stl.
Mark Madison - - 10Pts. 3-6FG, 2-2 3's, 5Reb. 5Ast.
Steve Bienlien - - 9Pts. 3-7FG, 3-3FT, 6Reb. 3Blk.

River 51:
Khalil Carroll - - 11Pts. 4-9FG, 3-6 3's, 5Ast.
Ed Drew - - 9Pts. 4-8FG, 1-4FT, 13Reb. 3Blk
Scott Spencer - - 9Pts. 4-8FG, 5Ast.
Devon Oakley - - 8Pts. 2-11FG, 4-6FT, 3Reb.
class=GramE>2Ast. 3Blk.


115%;font-family:"Times New Roman","serif";text-decoration:none;text-underline:
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