Panthers’ defense disappears in final quarter as Chincoteague emerges victorious
For three quarters, both the Charles City Panthers and visiting Chincoteague Ponies played on even terms, exchanging scores and trading leads. But when that final frame rolled around, what was once a strong-wall of a defense by the hosting Panthers quickly came crumbling down.
Chincoteague’s VaShaun Davis scored the opening 10 points of the fourth quarter as he powered the Ponies to an 80-71 win over Charles City in Monday night’s final contest before the winter break.
In the first quarter, Charles City’s Justis Crawley led the way for the hosts. With the hosts up by two (8-6), the sophomore guard was the recipient of a Kameron Johnson assist for a score and followed it up with a lay-in on his accord to double up the hosts advantage. But that lead quickly dwindled to one as Braden Watson connected on a three-pointer and Davis steal and score put the visitors back in striking distance. Leads alternated before Charles City’s Tanner Grubbs lay-in provided the hosts a 16-14 advantage heading into the second quarter.
The next frame brought excitement as a back-and-forth duel between Davis and Charles City’s Devonte Johnson. Johnson’s floater to up the score to 20-17 was countered by Davis’ tough jumper from the baseline. But on the next trip down, Johnson used a crossover to get past Davis before dishing a behind-the-back bounce pass through traffic to Davon Johnson to bring the crowd to their feet. But the fancy antics didn’t faze Davis, as his trifecta from the wing knotted the score at 22 apiece. Chincoteague gained a three-point advantage (33-30) with two minutes remaining before Charles City’s De’Rome Chretien found Kameron Johnson for another lay-in. Add two more from Crawley and a floater from Devonte Johnson and the hosts put together a run to take a 36-35 lead into the halftime intermission.
With neither team able to hold more than a four-point lead in the third quarter, both teams entered the final stanza tied at 54 apiece. That’s when Davis began his antics.
Exploiting Charles City’s man-to-man defense, Davis utilized a pick and roll with teammate Drevon Johnson to get consecutive lay-ups while positioning the hosts to foul him. Two more fouls by Panther defenders resulted in four free throws by Davis, all which he sank. Two free throws by Chincoteague’s Kevin Collins along with a lay-up by Trent Clark would account for a 14-0 Ponies run.
Charles City attempted to fight back into the game behind Devante Johnson. The senior guard accounted for seven of the team’s next nine points, but by the time his final basket dropped through the hoop, the Panthers were down eight (71-63). Ironically, while Chincoteague didn’t shoot well from the charity stripe in the first three quarters, they made as many free throws in the final quarter (12) as they did in the first three quarters. Those free throws along with easy scores allowed the Ponies to emerge with the victory over the hosts.
After the contest, a frustrated Panthers’ head coach VaShaun Otey called out his backcourt players and talked about the poor effort when attempting to stop Chincoteague’s pick-and-roll offense.
“It’s the defense that hurt us tonight,” he said. “Our guards got to defend. Because of their effort, our big guys got into foul trouble and became ineffective.
“There are two ends of the court; the offensive end and the defensive end,” Otey continued. “You got to defend if you want to score. There is no other way around that.”
Devonte Johnson’s 17 paced Charles City (1-5) in scoring. Kameron Johnson and Crawley both added 11, Jawuan Bowman tossed in eight, Christian Stewart pitched in with six, Cameron Vaden and Leo Charity added four, and two apiece were chipped in by Steven Trull, Davon Johnson, Sequan Bradby, Grubbs, and Justin Bradby.
Chincoteague’s Davis scored a game-high 34 in the win for the Ponies.