New Kent Lady Trojans claim 3A Regional Title with overtime victory against Petersburg
When New Kent Lady Trojans head basketball coach Neko Burson took over the program four years ago, simply getting a win and snapping a 50-game losing streak was the chore at hand. Now, his team is preparing to host a state semifinal game on Feb. 17.
A season full of mystery and unknowns for the Lady Trojans produced a path to victory as New Kent held off the visiting Petersburg Lady Crimson Wave 49-48 in the Feb. 11 3A Region A championship game.
After the feeling out process in the opening frame, the second quarter saw the action pick up behind the Petersburg duo of Tanaya Williams and Ashantee Wright. The two players combined for 13 of the team’s 18 points to lift the visitors to a 22-17 advantage at the halftime break over the hosting Lady Trojans.
New Kent fell by nine (28-19) in the third quarter when Jaiden McCoy drained a three-pointer at the 4:36 mark to halt the scoring drought. Another McCoy basket quickly cut Petersburg’s lead to four (28-24).
But Petersburg pushed the lead back up before the end of the quarter after a Janai Houston score. New Kent responded with Katelyn Norman’s jump shot, but the visitors held the advantage at the end of the stanza.
Trailing 36-31 with 2:51 showing on the clock, New Kent made one last run to put themselves back in the game. Two free throws each from McCoy and McKenna Mueller cut Petersburg’s advantage down to one (36-35). Petersburg was able to answer with two free throws of their own, but New Kent’s Hannah Drewer connected on a basket to keep the game close (38-37).
New Kent trailed by two with 19 ticks remaining when McCoy was fouled once again. Sitting in the double-bonus situation, the Lady Trojan calmly sank both freebies to tie the game up. Petersburg was unable to score before the final whistle of regulation and both teams transitioned into overtime.
Petersburg built the lead back up to three (45-42) after Ty’Aisha Green-Crawley drained a three-pointer for the visitors. McCoy added a score before her traditional three-point play was able to provide the hosts a lead at 49-48. With two seconds left, Petersburg had a chance to win the game, but a shot caromed off the rim on an inbound play, allowing the Lady Trojans to win the region and to host an upcoming state semifinal contest.
Burson was elated after the contest to be only two games away from the state championship.
“We were down at halftime and we knew we had to fix the little things,” the joyous head coach commented. “We kept up what we were doing, especially on the offensive end, as our shot selection was better with our open looks.
“We couldn’t get them to fall from three, so we just took it to the paint,” Burson continued. “This was a bigger team and we are used to seeing bigger teams, but I just have to give it to the girls. They fought and never gave up.”
McCoy’s 24 points led New Kent in the victory. Mueller also finished in double figures with 12, Katelyn Norman and Drewer both pitched in with four, Jakeira Thomas contributed with three, and Aubrey Hyndshaw chipped in with two.