Johnson paces New Kent triumph over Charles City
Jalesa Johnson poured in 11 of her team’s 15 first quarter points, lifting New Kent’s host Lady Trojans to a comfortable early advantage. Johnson’s effort, coupled with shooting woes on the part of Charles City’s visiting Lady Panthers, translated into a 41-18 New Kent basketball triumph.
The Dec. 4 non-district outcome marked New Kent’s first win after a season-opening loss to Bruton two nights earlier. For Charles City, it was the first loss after sweeping a home-away series with King & Queen.
Charles City held an early 4-3 lead before a pair of Jordan Arrington free throws put New Kent ahead to stay. Then Johnson took over, scoring five straight baskets to help lift the hosts to a 15-4 advantage.
“Unbelievable,” New Kent first-year head coach Tom Gates said describing Johnson’s first quarter performance.
“We had her out of position in the beginning of the year,” he said. “She’s a great offensive rebounder, so we just had to move her down in the lane. She has great instincts for the ball, and she didn’t miss any of her shots.”
Charles City, meanwhile, experienced a field goal drought lasting from just under the six-minute mark of the opening quarter until Shana Braxton stuck back a teammate’s miss with 6:19 to go in the third quarter. In between, the guests had only a Braxton free throw to show on the scoreboard.
For the first half, Charles City sank just 2 of 25 shots (8 percent) from the floor. And New Kent didn’t exactly shoot lights out. While holding the visitors scoreless in the second quarter, the Lady Trojans managed to increase their halftime edge to just 20-5 behind a 15 percent field goal accuracy mark.
“We got the lead and we didn’t extend our lead, but we didn’t let them get back in the game,” Gates said. “Our defense did a great job keeping them out of their offensive flow.”
The hosts opened the second half with a 7-0 run and were comfortably in front by the time Braxton ended Charles City’s field goal miss streak.
“We had no offensive punch at all, and nobody wanted to elevate and go to the next level,” complained Charles City coach Andre’ Jones.
“I have to give [New Kent] all the credit. They just out-hustled and outplayed us,” he said.
“It’s kind of hard to preach the same story over and over again, but we’ll get it together and be all right,” he added. “We’re young, but we’ve got to get a more positive attitude on the court.”
The Lady Trojans, meanwhile, benefited from the return of point guard Meghan Gumbs who sat out all of last season with a knee injury. And she was not up to 100 percent against Charles City thanks to a respiratory infection.
“She showed up today basically with pneumonia, but she controlled tempo and did a great job,” Gates said.
Johnson led all scorers with 16 points. Arrington finished with 10 for New Kent followed by Molly Maffei’s six, two each from Tyler Savage, Maria Bates, Fanandra Randall, and Gumbs, and Beth Hale’s one.
Braxton’s seven points topped Charles City. Toni Harris scored four, Allison Adkins added three, and Shana Brown and Amanda Adkins tossed in two apiece.
In the JV contest, Charles City broke open a close contest with a 16-5 third quarter on the way to posting a 34-18 victory.
Chiquita Black and Logan Madison poured in 11 points each to lead Charles City and all scorers. Sara Whitehead added eight points and Chayla Swinson and Lynae Brown each chipped in two.
Candice Bullock and Raven Randall each scored six to lead New Kent. Meagan Weaver, Maddy Washington, and Ta’racya Winston contributed two apiece.