New Kent comeback falls just short, Poquoson escapes 42-39
Staging a late rally, New Kent’s Lady Trojans closed within a single point of Poquoson in a game in which the visiting Islanders led since midway through the second quarter. Unfortunately for the hosts, a trio of opportunities in the final minute to either move in front or force overtime went for naught, enabling the Islanders to salvage a 42-39 Monday night basketball win.
“Missed layups and free throws — that was the difference in the game,” said Lady Trojan coach Neko Burson. “But I’m real proud of the girls. Last time we played [Poquoson] we let it slip away in the beginning. Tonight, the girls were really motivated because they were playing for a cause.”
And that cause centered on defeating cancer in honor of New Kent assistant coach Candice Parsley, a cancer survivor. Monday’s contest marked the third straight year Poquoson and New Kent have met on the court with proceeds going to fight the disease. The event raised over $200 to benefit the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.
Six lead changes highlighted the first half before the Islanders broke a 17-17 deadlock, finishing with an 8-0 run for a 25-17 halftime advantage. Poquoson took its largest lead (31-22) after play resumed, but New Kent tossed in five unanswered points to pull back into contention. The hosts trailed 33-29 at the end of three quarters.
Poquoson’s Sondra Fan (19 points) buried a deep three to put her team up by seven early in the final quarter. Approaching the quarter’s midpoint, that margin remained (38-31), but just over a minute later the contest became a one possession game.
Jada Hooker sank a pair from the free throw line to launch a 6-0 Lady Trojan run. Following an Islander miss at the other end, Kelsey Yates scored off a Peyton Slater assist, closing the gap to three.
On Poquoson’s next possession, Hooker came up with a steal and was back at the stripe moments later after being fouled in the act of shooting. Again, she converted both free throws making the contest a one-point affair at 38-37 with 2:54 to go.
Fan, however, created breathing room, sinking two from the stripe after being fouled on a drive to the hoop. Slater missed a game-tying three, but Poquoson also came up empty in a quest to extend its lead. Then with two minutes left, Kayla Tirado finished off a drive from quarter-court with a lay-in pulling New Kent back within one (40-39).
Assigned to guard Fan, the Islanders’ leading scorer, Tirado got a five-second violation on the Islander star 1:09 from the end. Following the turnover, Hooker penetrated the lane, but her shot for the lead caromed off the backboard’s underside.
The Islanders rebounded and called time out, setting up an inbounds play near midcourt. The strategy worked as an unguarded Kiersten Forrest broke for the basket, banking in an uncontested lay-in.
New Kent called time with only 14.5 seconds remaining to script a three-point play to send the game into overtime. As the play unfolded, Tirado fired a long pass for Yates in position for a corner three, but Poquoson’s Taylor Moore intercepted. Fouled on the theft, Moore missed the front end of a one-and-one with 6.2 seconds left, giving New Kent a last-ditch chance. Slater’s desperation three, however, bounced harmlessly off the backboard.
Tirado’s 12 points and 10 from Yates led New Kent, now 5-13. Hooker totaled seven and Slater scored five while Haley Hyndshaw and Brynne Jones each scored two and Sierra Locklear contributed one.
“We lost the first game by 10 and tonight by three, and if we can win in the first round of [next week’s] conference tournament, we could get another shot at them,” Burson said. “It’s still a hill, but we’re climbing it.”