Lafayette free throws hold off New Kent in regular season finale
What Lafayette’s Rams lacked in shooting accuracy from the floor, they offset with nearly perfect precision from the free throw line. They used that touch over three quarters to separate themselves from New Kent’s host Lady Trojans before pulling away for a 46-21 basketball triumph.
Frequent turnovers (25 combined) plus missed shots from the floor (46 combined) contributed to a low-scoring first half Wednesday night. Both teams sank five field goals, but Ram free throw shooting (8-for-9 compared to New Kent’s 0-for-2) put the visitors up 19-10 at the break.
Through three quarters, Lafayette converted only 17 percent (8-for-47) of their field goal tries (New Kent shot 8-for-33 or 24 percent), but 13-for-14 at the line accounted for the difference on the scoreboard (31-18) heading into the final period.
“Little things like free throws and missing so many wide-open layups,” Lady Trojan coach Neko Burson said, outlining reasons behind the loss. “You give those things up, that kills your momentum, and they’re just like turnovers for the other team. It’s hard to overcome that, and you see how important those are, especially in a tight game.”
Senior Tessa Gray, who has not seen action this season due to a career-ending knee injury, opened the scoring on Senior Night for the hosts. That 2-0 score held up until Alaina McKnight got the Rams on the scoreboard at the 4:17 mark.
Brynne Jones and Haley Hyndshaw baskets in the paint handed New Kent a 6-5 lead, but free throws put the visitors back on top (7-6) after one period. Jada Hooker’s assist to Kelsey Yates had the hosts within one (11-10) just past the second quarter’s midpoint, but Lafayette closed the half with an 8-0 run. New Kent never got closer than seven the rest of the way.
Hyndshaw led New Kent with seven points while Jones tossed in four. Yates and Peyton Slater each scored three while Gray and Hooker added two apiece.
The loss ended New Kent’s regular season at 5-14. The Lady Trojans travel next Tuesday (Feb. 14) to Park View-South Hill for a 6 p.m. Conference 25 tournament opener.
“Hopefully we can clean it up,” Burson said. “We’ve got a little less than a week to prepare and see if we can make a run in the post-season.”