Strong fourth quarter by Lady Bookers enough to eliminate New Kent from playoffs
New Kent’s Lady Trojans performance on the basketball court this year has proved to be leaps and bounds then its program more than four years ago. The hosts had an opportunity to advance to the regional semifinals at the Norfolk Scope. But a team from Norfolk wanted to have that home court advantage more than New Kent wanted to travel.
Booker T. Washington’s Mighty Lady Bookers pulled away in the fourth quarter as they eliminated New Kent’s Lady Trojans 58-44 in the Feb. 26 Group 3A Region A quarterfinals.
For most of the contest, both teams played evenly. And despite Booker T. Washington holding the lead, it didn’t grow to no more than five for most of the game. Meanwhile, the Lady Trojans were deciphering a way to put pressure on the visitors, and it came at the end of the third.
Lady Trojan Madison Foley drained back-to-back three pointers, tying the game at 36 apiece and receiving a thunderous cheer from the home crowd.
But the energy exerted by New Kent to tie the game drained the hosts, as mental mistakes led to multiple turnovers. The result was the Lady Bookers to outscore New Kent 22-8 in the final frame, including a 9-0 spurt to stretch what was a five-point lead (49-44) to what would result in the final margin of the contest and conclude the hosts season.
After the contest, New Kent head coach Neko Burson talked about his team’s effort in the contest.
“It was the same mistakes that we had been making the entire game,” he said, commenting on how the game slipped away. “We couldn’t rebound, we gave up second chance points, and we missed opportunities late.
“Other than that, I’m super proud the way we fought,” Burson added. “I think we played well and poised all the way down to the last minute.”
The head coach also said he understood and appreciated how much his four seniors, Foley, Natasha Lange, Haley Hyndshaw, and Alayna Loveland brought to the team.
“It was a little bit more emotional than anything with the seniors,” Burson said as the final moments wound down on the career. “It kind of felt as they started to pull away, then reality set in. But I am really proud of them and if you asked anybody on their side, they wouldn’t have thought it would be this close either. I’m just super proud and they rose to the occasion.”
Hyndshaw’s 18 points led New Kent, followed by Foley’s 12. Katelyn Norman tossed in eight, McKenna Mueller contributed four, and Hannah Drewer chipped in with two.
New Kent concludes its season with a record of 16-8.