New Kent outlasts rival West Point, ends losing streak
With only 14 miles separating the two schools, West Point and New Kent looked to continue a rivalry that has seen each team contributing to the intense battle. But for the Dec. 20 contest, it was the homestanding Trojans that found the win column before heading into the holiday break.
Despite being up by as much as 18 in the first half, New Kent held on to a 62-53 win over the visiting Pointers, ending its losing streak at five.
After early baskets were exchanged between both teams, a layup by New Kent’s Ben Housden bestowed the hosts first lead on the night (5-4). From there, New Kent’s offense clicked, orchestrating a 16-4 run to take a 21-8 lead.
And in the second quarter, the positives continued for the Trojan offense. Impressive passing by the hosts produced easy baskets and its largest lead of the night (31-13). However, the Pointers countered with a scoring streak of their own, scoring 12 of the next 14 points in the contest to slice New Kent’s lead back down to single digits (33-25) before the half.
With the eight-point advantage holding up for New Kent as the fourth quarter began (48-40), West Point’s Derek Healy started to heat up. A couple of Healy baskets was instrumental in a 7-0 run by the visitors to cut the Trojans lead down to a mere point (48-47). The Trojan’s Mitch Morse provided breathing room momentarily with four straight points, but a tough lay-in by Healy once again brought the visitors within a basket (53-51).
After an offensive foul was committed by New Kent’s Housden, West Point had ample opportunities to tie the contest. But several point-blank baskets ended up as misses for the guests. Meanwhile, Trojan guard Zack Manley retaliated with a traditional three-point play to up the hosts lead to five (56-51). New Kent converted all six free throws at the end of the game to seal the victory over West Point.
New Kent head coach Ronnie Cox praised his team’s efforts despite the recent brutal schedule.
“We have played five games in the last eight days,” he commented. “Our message was to win this home game.
“I know the guys are worn down,” he continued. “But we have to close out games better and not turn the ball over. West Point was able to cut the lead down to one point.”
However, New Kent took advantage of the Pointers placing them at the free throw line. Of the 23 attempts from the charity stripe, the Trojans sank 21 of them. By contrast, West Point converted only 12 of their 26 free throw shots.
“It was a physical game,” Cox added. “I saw a lot of growth in this team tonight and we must continue to mature. That has to be our biggest thing throughout the rest of the basketball season.”
Jared McCaughan provided a team-high 14 points for New Kent, who improves to 2-7 on the year. Manly finished with 12 for the victors, while Morse and Anthony Botarri both scored eight, Rob Kinder and Ryan Curle each pumped in six, Housden added five, and Ke’Sean Taliaferro contributed four.
West Point’s Healy led all scorers in the contest with 27 points.