New Kent Charles City Chronicle

News for New Kent County and Charles City County, Virginia | February 24, 2024

Powerful third quarter propels Panthers to victory over West Point

By Robb Johnson | January 15, 2023 10:17 am

Charles City’s Jonlei Coles (21) elevates over West Point’s Trey’Vaughn Randolph (5) and Noah Serio (2) for a late first half basket.

Robb Johnson photo

Winning is contagious, and after a year without any, Charles City’s Panthers have found the combination to end up on the right side of the scoreboard. Factor in a raucous home crowd of more than 300 people and a district rival, the positive momentum continues to favor the Panthers.

After a close first half, Charles City outscored the visiting West Point Pointers 29-6 in the third quarter to power them to a 77-52 Tidewater District victory.

In the first half, Charles City unveiled a 1-2-1-1 full-court press, capturing West Point off guard. The result was Charles City jumping out to a 9-2 lead before West Point called a timeout.

But the Pointers not only whittled the lead down, they took it at 11-10 after a lay-up from Aiden Ellwanger. Both teams exchanged scores before Charles City emerged with a 22-17 lead after the first quarter.

The second frame saw Charles City stretch the lead out to double figures (29-19), capped off by Taequan Williams’ wing three-pointer. But behind the 6’2” versatile Cy Gresham and teammate Noah Sergio, the Pointers battled back to tie the game at 31 apiece. But with less than a minute left in the half, Charles City went on a 9-2 run, with free throws from Jonlei Coles giving the hosts a 40-33 halftime advantage.

Defense was the focal point for Charles City in the second half, as they took advantage of the sloppiness from West Point. Traps at halfcourt followed by steals from behind led to easy lay-ups on the end. Bryan Lewis Jr. was the catalyst as he dropped 10 points in the frame. From there, the Panthers fourth quarter saw its lead grow to 30 with the running clock initiated as they closed out West Point.

After the contest, Charles City Head Coach De’Quantae Mason talked about his team’s strong performance starting behind closed doors.

“We had a great week of practice, we have been more disciplined, and we are building a culture here,” the head coach said. “We went into halftime and when we came out, we started moving our feet more on the defensive end and on the offensive end, shots started coming to us.

“We are having fun,” Mason added. “We are learning from this and now we are learning how to win games.”

Lewis and Coles were the high scorers for the Panthers (7-7) with 25 and 21, respectively. Williams tossed in 13, Mitchell Whitehead added nine, Aidan Stewart tossed in three, and the trio of Justin Post-Parada, Messiyah Greene, and Christian Holloway all tossed in two apiece.