New Kent Charles City Chronicle

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

Balanced scoring, second half surge leads Lady Panthers to win column

By Robb Johnson | February 7, 2024 8:48 am

Charles City’s Jaela Smith elevates in the lane for a floater over West Point’s Anna Jenkins.

Robb Johnson photo

When the 2023-24 season began, fans were just glad Charles City’s Lady Panthers were able to field a varsity team for the first time in five years. Now, it looks like the fans will get an extra bonus with a postseason appearance thanks to a Tuesday night performance by the Lady Panthers.

Using a balanced offense and a strong second half, Charles City defeated the visiting West Point Lady Pointers 50-37 in the Tidewater District contest.

Charles City jumped in front early in the game as Jaela Smith scored six first quarter points, leading to a 15-8 lead. But in the second quarter, Charles City’s offense slowed in the latter part, allowing West Point’s Krishay Delaney to chip away at the home team’s lead. Back-to-back lay-ups along with a buzzer-beating three-pointer cut the Lady Panthers’ advantage down to one (23-22) heading into the halftime break.

West Point gained their first lead of the game (26-25) after Gabrielle Staples wide open lay-in. Charles City countered as Bryana Lewis’ corner three returned the Lady Panthers to the forefront. A small 5-0 run by reestablished the Lady Pointers advantage (31-28) when Charles City’s Madison Bradby scored a basket and was followed by a Nyla Brown floater. The momentum rolled for the hosts as Smith scored on a putback followed by a breakaway lay-in as part of a 22-6 run for the home team, who finished the game on a high note.

After the contest, Charles City Lady Panthers Head Coach Julio Garcia employed his team to make that push for a postseason appearance.

“This was a big game because we want to make the playoffs,” he commented. “I told them to trust each other.

“I told them to keep rebounding, applying pressure, and we are going to continue to play with resilience,” Garcia added. “We had to keep our heads up, no matter what happens.”

Smith’s 16 points led Charles City (9-11) in scoring, while Brown also finished in double figures with 11 points. Bradby and Lewis both tossed in seven, Sha’Ryan Paige pumped in six, and Teonna Bey chipped in with three.