New Kent Charles City Chronicle

News for New Kent County and Charles City County, Virginia | May 18, 2024

Unable to hold late lead, NK falls 50-46 in season finale

By Alan Chamberlain | February 27, 2008 11:10 am

Ahead by 10 points with just under five minutes left in the game, a dismal basketball campaign appeared to be concluding on an up note for New Kent’s Lady Trojans. Those final five minutes, however, degenerated into a season-ending nightmare.

The host Lady Trojans watched their advantage crumble. Poor passes, ill-advised shots, a penchant for fouling, and a coaching blunder all contributed to Jamestown escaping with a 50-46 win. It may have been Valentine’s Day, but the contest proved to be anything but a sweetheart of a game for the hosts who finished at 2-18 in the Bay Rivers District and 2-20 overall.

“I don’t know what happened or when it happened,” a perplexed Gierek Walker, the Lady Trojan coach, said afterward.

“We actually played our best game of the season,” he said. “I wish we could have walked off the court with a win, especially for the seniors.

“It’s games like this that build a lot of character,” he added.

Assuming that’s true, the Lady Trojans have enough to propel them to graduation and beyond.

As the first half dissolved into the second, a key factor began to loom, specifically New Kent’s inability to safely distance themselves while Jamestown suffered through its field goal shooting woes.

The Eagles’ Jessica Napoleon dropped in a baseline shot at the 5:18 mark of the second quarter to give her team a 16-15 lead. For the remainder of the half, Jamestown failed to score from the floor, yet clung to a 20-19 lead at the break.

New Kent, meanwhile, had built a 15-10 lead before Napoleon and company forged in front. But after building that five-point advantage, the Lady Trojans finished the half 0-for-14 from the floor.

Jamestown never netted a field goal in the third quarter. Lady Trojan Jordan Arrington went on a scoring tear to open the period, pouring in her team’s next 11 points. Her steal and lay-in at the 3:50 mark opened a 30-21 lead, but by quarter’s end, the Eagles were back within six.

Mimi Laycock’s basket ended the drought for Jamestown with 6:18 left in the game, but New Kent had been unable to pull away in the interim. Laycock’s shot had Jamestown within eight at 39-31.

Jamestown went 0-for-16 from the floor and turned the ball over 23 times during their 15-minute field goal drought. The Eagles, however, stayed in the game at the free throw line, thanks to a New Kent team that committed 30 fouls for the game, placing the Eagles at the stripe for 49 opportunities of which 31 found the bottom of the net. By contrast, New Kent got to the line 29 times, converting only 13.

New Kent’s Chante’ Garner sank the first of two free throws with 5:07 left to reinstate a 10-point bulge at 41-31. But the hosts went one-for-seven from the floor and three-for-eight from the line the rest of the way. A New Kent team that had turned the ball over just nine times in the entire first half lost possession on 11 occasions in the final five minutes.

Jamestown was in the double bonus for the entire fourth quarter and took advantage, sinking 15 of 24 opportunities. With the outcome on the line in the last 40 seconds, the Eagles sank seven of eight.

With under a minute to go, Jamestown was within two, but Garner sank one of two free throws with 42.4 seconds left to up New Kent’s lead to 46-43. The hosts then got a break as Maria Bates tied up Napoleon on a rebound battle. The alternate possession arrow pointed to New Kent.

But on the ensuing inbounds play, Garner fouled Laycock, presenting another double bonus opportunity that Laycock cashed in to close the gap to 46-45.

With 36.2 seconds left, Molly Maffei stepped to the line with a chance to extend New Kent’s lead, but missed both double bonus shots. The rebound went to the Eagles, but Napoleon was called for an extra step, turning the ball back to the hosts.

On the inbounds play, Napoleon made amends, stealing the pass and getting the ball to Erin Henley who was fouled by Maffei. The call drew a protest from Walker who drew a technical foul, the fifth called during the course of the contest.

“That last technical on me, I don’t even understand,” Walker said afterward. “I said nothing derogatory.”

Henley, meanwhile, sank both double bonus shots created by the Maffei foul and one of two technical free throws to put her team in front 48-46 with 27.6 seconds left. The Eagles owned the ball and a chance to run out the clock, but instead took a shot that was rebounded by the Lady Trojans. Walker called time to set up a final play.

But that play never transpired as Henley picked off the inbounds pass and, inexplicably, took another shot at the basket. The Eagles rebounded the miss and launched another shot, also off the mark, that was rebounded by New Kent’s Nikki Jones with eight seconds showing.

Jones drove the ball up the floor, firing a pass intended for Kayla Timberlake that sailed out of bounds. The ball, however, was last touched by the Eagles.

Just 4.1 seconds remained on the clock as New Kent set up under the Eagle basket for a shot to force overtime or win on a three-pointer, but Timberlake was whistled for pushing off on Napoleon before the inbounds pass was triggered. Napoleon then sank both free throws to preserve the win.

Arrington led New Kent with 13 points while Timberlake tossed in 10. Garner finished with eight while Bates scored six, Jalesa Johnson ended with four, Jones had three, and Pa’trina Thornton chipped in two.

Jamestown’s Henley led all scorers with 24 points, including 15 of 22 from the foul line.

New Kent’s JV was within five at 26-21 near the midpoint of the third quarter, but Jamestown erupted on an 18-2 run to pull away for a 53-33 win.

Kathryn Hale’s nine points and eight from Casey Spencer topped New Kent. Raven Randall, Kandice Bullock, and Kandra Taylor each scored five while Tyra Williams added one.