Charles City’s ‘ugly’ triumph extends win streak to two
“It was ugly, but it’s a win.”
Those were the words spoken afterwards by Charles City Panthers head coach Terrell Brooks after 67-58 triumph over the visiting Middlesex Chargers in Friday night’s Tidewater District basketball match-up.
The hosts performance from the floor shooting throughout the contest could be described as sub-par. Misses from point blank range along with opportunities squandered at the free throw line put the Panthers in a tight contest against a winless yet hungry Middlesex team. After Charles City built an 8-2 lead early on, Middlesex continued to use a slow-paced strategy to frustrate the Panthers. Eventually, the visitors began to pound the ball down into the post to big man Jaden Reed. Reed found numerous ways to score against Charles City, utilizing a hook shot and two subsequent free throws to give the visitors an early second quarter lead (13-12).
Charles City bolted back in front before Reed cut the lead to two again (19-17). From there, the hosts relied on sophomore guard Kameron Johnson to lift the non-energetic Panthers. Johnson would account for the final ten points for Charles City in the second quarter (eight scoring and one assist) as the hosts carried a 31-26 lead into the intermission break.
The third quarter rolled around and so did Reed becoming a more dominant threat inside. With the Panthers up 38-33, Reed finished off a traditional three-point play before following it up with a putback that rolled around and through the rim. With the hosts’ attention on Reed, that opened up Charger wingman Mitch Curtiss and allowed him to drain a trifecta to give the visitors their largest lead of the night (41-38). Scores exchanged between Charles City’s Johnson and Reed for the rest of the quarter that resulted in a deadlock at 43 apiece to end the frame.
The back-and-forth scoring continued for the next six minutes of the game with neither team pulling away. Charles City finally made a move as Johnson found Christian Stewart on a fast break lay-in. Moments later, Johnson called his own number with a scoop shot that provided the hosts a four-point lead (59-55) with 1:06 remaining in the contest.
After a Middlesex timeout, Johnson converted a pair of free throws to stretch the gap to six (61-55) before Curtiss’ second long range connection cut the lead in half and prompted a timeout by Middlesex with 47.8 remaining. However, the ball remained in the hands of Johnson for the Panthers as he drained six consecutive free throws to close out the contest and up the hosts’ winning streak to two games.
Brooks said that his team has improved during the season, but the energy wasn’t there in the game.
“We played to the level of our competition instead of our type tonight,” the coach said. “We’re catching up mentally of what we have to do but we are a step behind on the court.
“We got to know about the score of the game and our situations better,” Brooks added. “We had costly turnovers during those moments. We also have to talk on defense. We do it at times, but we have to do it often.”
Johnson was the high-man in the game with 36 points to lead the Panthers, now 2-9 on the season. Leo Charity finished with nine, Tanner Grubbs added eight, Christian Stewart tossed in seven, Rashad Williams pumped in five, and the duo of Keondre Barnes and Rashad Williams chipped in with one apiece.
Reed’s 27 points led Middlesex, who remains winless on the season.