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The Franklin News-Post
P. O. Box 250
310 Main Street, SW
Rocky Mount, Virginia 24151
Fax: 540-483-8013

Warriors love the pace, down Eagles 76-62

Monday, January 31, 2011

By STEVEN MARSH - Sports Editor

Because his team has only seven players, Oak Hill Academy head coach Mike Rodgers said his team has no problems finding its second -- and sometimes -- its third wind.

Saturday, the Warriors (12-3) had a prolific scorer too.

Nirra Fields, a junior guard from Quebec, Canada, netted a game-best 41 points to pace Oak Hill to a 78-62 victory over Franklin County (13-4) in the eighth-annual Member One-Time Technologies Hoops Classic.

The contest was the first girls' varsity game played in the one-day showcase or its predecessor -- the SunTrust Classic, which began in 1988 in Roanoke.

The game was originally scheduled as part of a two-day December doubleheader called the Crooked Road Classic involving Patrick Henry, Liberty Christian, Oak Hill and FCHS.

The rosters of both Oak Hill and FCHS are comprised of nine players. The Warriors' Mallory Jones, a transfer from Blacksburg, and Taneesha Greaves are injured and did not play.

Still, the 16 players who saw action combined for 160 points.

"I loved the pace of the game. We don't often play teams that are as athletic as us, so this was a real nice challenge,' Rodgers said. "I felt like (FCHS) out-scrapped us in the first half, but we woke up at halftime.'

FCHS, which trailed by 14 points, 51-37, in the third quarter, got as close as five, 59-54, with 6:09 remaining after a basket by Charmaine Hairston.

The Eagles had three possessions to cut the gap to three following that basket, but came away empty each time.

"We just didn't capitalize (there). Sometimes, in those situations, we tend to show our youth,' FCHS head coach Anne Crutchfield said. "I thought we had them in a situation where they looked like they were getting a little tired...But I think we were a little tired too.'

Oak Hill responded with a 6-0 run, one in which Fields scored two baskets, to push the spread back to 11.

"With our numbers, we find second and third winds,' Rodgers said.

FCHS did pull to within seven, 65-58, after consecutive baskets by Latisha Martin and Erica Hancock.

But that was a close as the Eagles would get as Oak Hill would secure the victory with an 11-4 run -- one that Fields fueled with six points.

Fields netted 19 points in the first half and 22 after intermission. She is averaging "close to 30' points a game, Rodgers said.

Oak Hill had complementary scorer in Kerri Belcher, who finished with 12 points. Its other five players combined for 23.

Hairston paced the Eagles with 15 points. She has scored in double figures in 12 of FCHS's 17 games.

Hancock finished with 13 points, while Brianna Taylor tallied 11 and Zarkia Mattox netted 10.

Martin scored seven points and Brianna Holland had one.

Oak Hill blocked 11 shots.

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