By Matthew Yoder
The Chincoteague boys faced a formidable challenge at home against Wicomico Monday night and left amazed by the sheer athleticism brought to them on the court. Five-tool players, a deep bench, and runaway speed rendered the game a sizeable mismatch, with Wicomico racing to an 80-27 win.
The game was simply played at another speed. The Ponies did their best to keep pace, but the score inflated at a tremendous rate and the Indians made it so by a balanced effort. Their starting lineup is sophomore heavy, and underclassmen, Tawain Hardy, Antwain Wilson, and BJ Cook, all contributed strongly in the quarter. The Indians scored on fast breaks, feeding one another with great passing, and they shot well from behind the arc to further complicate the Ponies’ efforts. The quarter was played cleanly and quickly, with few whistles, and Wicomico built a 31-12 lead.
Wicomico stretched the margin in the second quarter, playing above the rim with unrelenting skill. Hardy opened the quarter for the Indians with a one-handed slam-dunk on a fast break, getting fouled in the process and completing the 3-point play. The Indians were equally effective on defense. Wilson blocked the shot of Giovanni Rosanova and was rewarded in transition by his teammates with an open look for 3. He drew only net, and the game was beyond reach. Ayden Leonard single-handedly did his best to keep the Ponies competitive, challenging his opponents admirably in the paint. He scored 9 points in the first half, urgently imploring his teammates in a timeout to follow his lead.
“We need more people attacking, seriously,” Leonard said.
The score was 59-18 at the half. The second half was a mere formality. The Indians continued to put on a dazzling display at times, as they exhausted their depth chart. Hardy and Wilson led the Indians with 13 points apiece, but by game’s end everyone on their roster had left an impression on the stats sheet.
Ayden Leonard finished with 14 points for Chincoteague, and postgame he seemed in awe of what had just happened. When asked whether these learning processes are fun, he smiled and answered candidly.
“Honestly, it’s crazy to see some of the stuff they can do,” said Leonard.