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Dry Spell Dooms North Cross In VIS State Quarterfinal Loss

North Cross senior Kennedy Nwabia scores over Williamsburg defender Ryan Flanagan Wednesday night in the VIS Division III quarterfinal. Nwabia had a game-high 23 points, but it wasn't enough as the Raiders fell 60-55.
North Cross senior Kennedy Nwabia scores over Williamsburg defender Ryan Flanagan Wednesday night in the VIS Division III quarterfinal. Nwabia had a game-high 23 points, but it wasn’t enough as the Raiders fell 60-55.

Snow was on the ground and snow was in the forecast Wednesday night at the North Cross campus.

Unfortunately for the Raiders in the Jim Muscaro gym, their second quarter was as dry as the Sahara Desert.

Outscored 15-1 by visiting Williamsburg Christian in the second frame, North Cross came up short in a 60-55 loss to the Eagles in the VIS Division III state semifinal.

It was the second straight year the Raiders’ season ended on their home court in the state quarterfinal round.

North Cross led 14-12 after one quarter before everything turned ragged on both ends of the court for the Raiders. North Cross shots rattled off the rim and Williamsburg heated it up on the other end, hitting from behind-the-arc and converting on moves into the paint.

By the halftime break the sole Raider point of the quarter came on a Kennedy Nwabia free throw with 41 seconds left in the quarter, and Williamsburg was up 27-15.

The drought not only hurt North Cross on the scoreboard, but gave the Eagles plenty of momentum heading to the third quarter with their effective motion offense taking charge.

“We buried ourselves in the second quarter,” North Cross head coach Ed Green noted inside the Raider locker room after the game. “They outplayed us and executed well with good movement on offense and good defense.”

North Cross got the deficit to single digits late in the third quarter on a pair of free throws by Jordon Lowery, but Williamsburg led 38-27 heading into the final eight minutes.

The Eagles pushed their advantage to 50-31 with five minutes left in the game, and North Cross mounted a valiant comeback that came up just short.

Raider 6-foot-7 senior Bennett Holley hit from long range with just over a minute left to cut the North Cross deficit to single digits at 54-47.

After two free throws by Williamsburg, North Cross senior Keith Oddo hit a trey from NBA range to make it 56-50 with 31 seconds left.

But, with the Raiders forced to foul, Eagles’ Xavier Green sank two free throws to make it 58-50 two seconds later, and Oddo followed with a pair from the charity stripe with 20 seconds left to make it 58-52.

Williamsburg got free throws from Andre Brown and Green, and Oddo hit on a last-second heave to settle the final margin.

“I was proud of the way we came back, but it was not quite enough,” Green said.

“We fought hard and our guys held their composure down the stretch,” Williamsburg head coach Chris Gann said. “We ran our motion offense well and we did a pretty good job shooting the ball and sharing the ball. We’re not a big team, so we knew North Cross was going to present challenges.”

Nwabia had a game-high 23 points for North Cross before fouling out late in the game. Oddo added 11, while Lowery netted 10 points for the Raiders.

Brown paced Williamsburg with 20 points, with Mike Duncan pouring in 14 and Green dropping in 13.

Bill Turner

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