New Kent fights off Charles City runs, split season series with 71-66 win
In the first encounter of rivals Charles City and New Kent, the Panthers dominated the visiting Trojans to snap a 16-game losing streak. But with the turn of the calendar to the year 2020, it was New Kent’s turn to start a new streak against the Panthers.
A back-and-forth contest that came down to the wire resulted in the hosting Trojans emerging as winners over Charles City 71-66 in Saturday night’s contest.
Utilizing the long ball, New Kent was the aggressor in the first quarter. Jalen Banks and Jared McCaughan both dropped in a pair of three-pointers as New Kent raced out to a 16-5 lead early in the contest.
Charles City made its first move in the second quarter. A triple set of trifectas by forward De’Rome Chretien along with Justin Bradby taking a charge ignited the Panthers crowd. The momentum swing continued as Justis Crawley’s lay-in bestowed the visitors their first lead of the night (29-28).
New Kent recouped just before the break, as Julius Jacobs and McCaughan strung together back-to-back scores for a 32-29 lead.
The Trojans took a huge swing at the visitors in the third and fourth quarters, as New Kent’s Banks scored eight points in a run that saw the lead swell up to nine (58-49) with 5:23 left in the game.
Charles City head coach Terrell Brooks called a time out, preaching execution to his team. The result was a spurt of a 10-0 Panther run in a brisk 79 seconds. Leo Charity’s lay-in returned the lead to the Panthers (59-58).
McCaughan responded for New Kent, putting the run to an end and returning the lead to New Kent. But two free throws by Charity gave Charles City a lead before Chretien’s corner three in front of the Panthers bench provided Charles City it’s biggest lead of the night (64-60).
The theatrical show continued, as McCaughan converted a tough lay-in on the next play while getting fouled on the traditional three-point play. On the next trip down, the big man rebounded teammate Kevin Harris’ miss at the line and was fouled. With the Trojans in the double bonus, McCaughan sank both attempts to give New Kent the lead once again (65-64).
With the score at 68-66 in favor of New Kent with 12 seconds remaining, Jacobs sank one of two free throws to up the gap to three. On the trip down the floor, Charles City’s Kameron Johnson was stripped of the ball with an outlet pass tossed to Jason Hall who scored a late basket at the buzzer to provide the final margin of the game in favor of the hosts.
After the game, New Kent head coach Garrett Ross expressed that he was happy to snap a losing streak and get a much-needed win for his team.
“We showed hustle and grit tonight and we didn’t give up on any loose ball,” he said. “When we got up early, they came back and punched us taking the lead.
“We showed fight in coming back and that was the difference in past games and tonight,” Garrett added. “We didn’t give up.”
For Charles City head coach Brooks, he expected a better response from his team’s effort in the contest.
“We didn’t play our best game on either side of the court tonight,” he commented. “They jumped on us early, which I expected with them being at home.
“We fought back to get back into this game which I expected as well,” Brooks continued. “But as a team, we have to take more pride in defense and at the end of the day, everybody can score but you have to say personally that my man is not going to score. We didn’t do that, and they got about eighty percent of their points in the paint, so we have to get tougher mentally and physically.”
McCaughan’s game high 23 points led New Kent (4-7) in the scoring column. Banks and Kevin Harris also finished in double figures with 14 and 13, respectively, Jacobs scored seven, Hall pumped in six, York contributed five, Logan Frederick tossed in two, and Spencer Gilland chipped in with one.
Charles City’s (8-4) trio of Johnson, Chretien, and Charity all finished with 15 points, while Crawley also finished in double figures with 14. Christian Stewart tossed in five, and Bradby chipped in with two.