Girls basketball: Shamblin, Nitro escape with win over Wood, Riverside
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- For most people, a new year gives hope for a promising future.
Such is the case for the Nitro and Riverside girls basketball teams in 2013, and for the next couple seasons as well.
Sophomore Savannah Shamblin scored a game-high 24 points, including eight points in the fourth quarter, in helping Nitro escape with a 58-55 home victory over Riverside (3-8).
The Wildcats (5-3) overcame a big game from Riverside sophomore Brittany Wood, who finished with 23 points, 22 rebounds and five blocked shots.
Riverside's Sheree Clayborn held Shamblin - a point guard - to just 11-for-30 shooting, but Shamblin came up big when she needed to, including a mid-range jumper with 46 seconds remaining and Nitro clinging to a one-point lead.
"Savannah had the hot hand, hit a couple shots down the wire, and that was the difference in the game," Nitro first-year Coach Will Samuel said. "It was huge. That's the type of player she is. She hit the big one for us.
"She doesn't want to lose. It's her will to win. It's more than anything I've ever seen, honestly, even when I played in high school. She refuses to lose. That's Savannah."
Meanwhile, Wood, a center, scored 15 of her 22 points in the second half, on seven-for-eight shooting. With Riverside trailing 37-26 in the second quarter, Wood scored 15 of her team's next 16 points, including all 11 points in the third.
"She stepped up strong in the second half," Riverside first-year Coach Scott Garretson said. "It was a great game for her and I was really proud of her. She has a knack for the ball and works really hard. She's a great rebounder and her shot-blocking ability is second to none."
Both coaches are happy to have them around not just this season, but for the next two seasons as well.
"It's great, and I think about it all the time," said Samuel, who has just one senior in his starting lineup. "The future looks pretty good for us."
"We only have one senior on the entire team," Garretson said. "The main thing is getting these girls playing basketball in the offseason. They are getting better and better as the season goes along from November to February, but imagine what we they could do if they play year round."
Despite their improvements, Shamblin and Wood continue to look ahead.
"I'm happy with my performance but I know everything can get better," Wood said. "I can improve and just need to keep getting better. I'm very excited for the future. We just need to keep working hard and we will be successful."
"I'm pretty happy and satisfied," Shamblin said. "I've been working my butt off and it's paying off. I hope I do get to play college ball. I'm very excited for the future, and I'm so glad he (Samuel) is here."
Kelli Douglas added 15 points for Nitro, while Clayborn scored 10 points for the Warriors and Lamontica Burger contributed 10 rebounds.