Panthers ride Stewart’s five trifectas to Senior Night victory over West Point
Usually on Senior Night, it’s the opportunity for the graduating class to shine in front of the home crowd. But for Charles City’s Panthers, the seniors allowed a junior sharpshooter to lead the way.
Christian Stewart’s 22 points, that included five three-pointers, sparked the homestanding Panthers to a 69-39 victory over the visiting West Point Pointers in Tuesday night’s home finale.
The hosts found themselves in an early deficit, as West Point’s Aaron Simmons drained back-to-back corner threes to jumpstart the visitors in the game. But the Panthers delivered their first haymaker of an offensive flurry, scoring 14 consecutive points that include the first of Stewart’s trifectas. His second at the end of the first quarter provided Charles City a double-digit advantage (19-8).
Stewart’s third three-pointer stretched out the lead to 14 midway through the second quarter and his fourth trifecta at the 3:53 mark provided the Panthers a 31-15 advantage. That offensive momentum swung to the defensive side of the ball, as the hosts executed a 1-2-2 full-court press. The press’ initial result yielded a Kameron Johnson to Leo Charity lay-in. Moments later, Charity would commit the swipe and dish it to Kameron Johnson who dropped it off to DelMonta Johnson as the Panthers raced out to a 38-20 lead at halftime.
West Point worked the lead back to within a dozen after three consecutive baskets to begin the third quarter (38-26). But Charles City withstood the rally and used a three-pointer from Steven Trull Jr. to spark a 15-0 run to double-up the Pointers on the scoreboard (56-28). Charles City cruised for the rest of the way to earn the victory.
Charles City head coach Terrell Brooks spoke about the unselfishness of his team and their adaptability to the new defense.
“We put in that press today and the kids executed well and played defense well,” he commented. “We knew West Point would try something different on us and they ran a diamond-and-one on Kameron [Johnson].
“But because of that, it became a natural thing to move the ball on offense and Christian’s [Stewart] shooting sparked our offense’s confidence,” Brooks added. “In our first match-up, they were very physical but tonight we took it to them.”
Also joining Stewart in double figures for Charles City (6-15) were Kameron Johnson and Charity, who both contributed 13 apiece, and Trull who dropped in 10. Tanner Grubbs scored five points, DelMonta Johnson tossed in four, and Keondre Barnes tossed in two.
Jake Hoffman’s 17 points provided the high score for West Point.