New Kent Charles City Chronicle

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

New Kent can’t hold lead as Smithfield rallies in 70-66 win

By Robb Johnson | February 6, 2024 5:15 am

A scramble for a rebound sees New Kent’s Christian Joyner (30) and Michael Hetzel (23) battle for possession against Smithfield players.

Robb Johnson photo

Facing foul trouble from the onset of the contest along with struggles from key scorers, New Kent’s Trojans dropped a Friday night contest 70-66 to the visiting Smithfield Packers.

Early in the contest, Will Ross’ three-pointer provided New Kent with an early advantage. However, Smithfield responded with a 10-2 run to double up the hosts on the scoreboard (14-7). Another Ross trifecta along with a Christian Joyner score cut the lead down to two (14-12). Afterwards, Trojan guard Marty Wray caught fire, draining two long-distance shots to lift the hosts to a 24-18 lead after the first quarter.

After growing their lead to nine (29-20), the Trojans began to make errors that allowed Smithfield back in the game. Smithfield’s Triston Pretlow scored eight points in the second quarter, with teammate Jameson Shipman’s three-pointer cutting the lead down to four (40-36). That deficit was cut in half with Pretlow’s steal and lay-in at the buzzer, cutting New Kent’s advantage to two (40-38) at the intermission.

In the third quarter, New Kent’s Kyle Diggs shrugged off early first half foul trouble, helping orchestrate an 11-3 run to provide the hosts their largest lead of the contest (51-41). Pretlow countered with five more points for the Packers, who cut New Kent’s lead down to seven (57-50) by the end of the third.

But the Trojans’ lead evaporated almost instantaneously, as seven points to kickoff the frame knotted the score up at 57 apiece. Diggs’ three-pointer for New Kent returned the lead to the hosts, but only temporarily as Smithfield orchestrated a 13-6 run, highlighted by Jayden Wiggins’ three-pointer. A Jaden Shearn putback stretched Smithfield’s lead to three (69-66).

With 40 seconds remaining on the clock, Ross’ shot attempts from beyond the arc would not fall, resulting in Smithfield grabbing the rebound. A Shipman free throw with just over 10 seconds left provided the Packers a four-point lead, and enough breathing room to capture the win.

After the game, New Kent Head Coach Garrett Ross spoke about his team’s inability to step up their game in the waning moments.

“They hit big shots and we just can’t play hard, we have to compete,” the head coach commented. “In big moments, you have to hit big shots. They did and we didn’t.

“They deserved to win,” Ross added. “With only three games to go until regional play, we have to pick up some momentum.”

Will Ross’ 13 points led New Kent (13-6) in the scoring column. Wray and Diggs also finished in double figures with 12 points apiece, Joyner and Dillon Mickles added seven each, Kamuari Palmer and Josiah Reedy each tossed in six, and Jordan Carr pumped in three.