Smithfield grinds out win to snap New Kent’s seven-game win streak
New Kent’s Trojans were riding a seven-game winning streak as they engaged in a rematch against the visiting Smithfield Packers. After the Trojans struggled in their first contest against the Packers, it would be foul trouble and lackluster defense that led to Smithfield’s second victory over the Trojans.
Several trips to the charity stripe by the visiting Packers would provide enough points as they escaped New Kent with a 68-63 victory in the Friday night Bay Rivers District contest.
In the first quarter, it would be New Kent sophomore guard Will Ross who kept the game close for the hosts. His opening three-pointer would be just a portion of his 14 points in the first quarter. But the grinding Packers got to the free throw line behind Sekou Frye’s leadership. Smithfield emerged go a 16-10 lead when New Kent responded with a 9-2 run of their own. By the end of the first quarter, the score was tied at 21 apiece.
In the second quarter, Smithfield built a 28-24 advantage when New Kent responded in an offensive outburst. Isaiah Carr and Kemauri Palmer combine for 11 points as part of an 11-2 run for New Kent, providing the hosts a 35-30 lead at the intermission break.
But the third quarter became one where shots began to fall for the visitors. Out the gate into the second frame, Smithfield’s Sean Brown and Frye combined for four trifectas to return the lead to the visitors. Frye would follow that up and attack the basket, getting back to the foul line and sending New Kent’s Carr to the bench. The result of the offensive flurry by the Packers provided the guests a 52-46 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
Smithfield’s lead swelled to 10 points (61-51) when New Kent began its comeback with 2:50 left on the clock. Kyle Diggs drained a three-pointer followed by two free throws by Carr cut Smithfield’s lead down to five (61-56).
Frye and Palmer would exchange baskets for their respective teams when Ross converted a trifecta for New Kent to cut Smithfield’s lead down to four (65-61). But as the Trojans felt the pressure from the time winding down on the clock, turnovers down the stretch led to the Packers gaining extra possessions. The visitors would convert free throws down the stretch to ice the contest.
After the contest, New Kent Head Coach Garrett Ross talked about his team’s growth despite their seven game winning streak coming to an end.
“I told them they should all walk out with their heads high,” he commented. “They are playing much better and to have as many turnovers as we had and only lose by five, it only shows that we are heading in the right direction.
“I have all the confidence in the world and I feel that we have improved more than any team in the district,” Ross added. “We have a quick turnaround and I’m proud of them. We will get better.”
Will Ross’ 21 points led New Kent (12-5) in the scoring column. Carr dropped in 15, Josiah Reedy added nine, Diggs tossed in seven, Palmer pumped in six, Ethan Smith contributed three, and Ken Christian chipped in with two points.