By Matthew Yoder
What started out as a close game quickly stretched beyond approach as Chincoteague coach Jimmy Bloxom witnessed key contributors to his team exit the court in foul trouble. Colonial Beach rattled off 17 consecutive points in the second quarter in defeating Chincoteague, 56-33, Tuesday night in the Pony Pen.
The Ponies came out playing solidly against the Drifters, particularly on the defensive end. Emma Jackson set the Ponies in motion with a steal at midcourt. In the half-court offense, Jackson remained aggressive, driving hard through the lane and drawing a foul. Jackson made both free throws and seemed fixed on playing with great intensity on both ends. Jackson was joined by strong defensive efforts from Lindsay O’Shea and Caroline Shelley to slow the Drifters’ bigs in the paint.
Shelley also contributed in a large way early on the offensive end for Chincoteague, first putting back a layup from an offensive board, then outletting at midcourt to Alanna Hall for a fast break layup.
For a time, the game seemed to be playing right into the Ponies’ hands. The Drifters matched Chincoteague’s defensive effort, however, with their own scrappy play. Steals by Kennedy Muse and Cara Bonler led to easy layups for the Drifters, and while the Ponies continued to defend well, their offense struggled to keep pace. The first quarter ended with Colonial Beach up 10-8.
The second quarter started encouragingly for the Ponies but quickly took a sharp turn. Shelley made a great baseline move, scoring for the Ponies, and Hall drew a foul off a 3-point attempt, making only a single free throw, yet leveling the score at 11.
Simultaneously problems began to mount for Chincoteague, as first Jackson exited the court in foul trouble. She was quickly joined by O’Shea and Shelley in similar suit.
“When we get tired we foul, we can’t do anything with foul trouble,” said Bloxom.
Colonial Beach more than took advantage and wrested control of the game. Leah Phillips drove past defenders for a layup, getting fouled and completing the and-one in the process. Then Muse stole the Ponies’ pass for an easy layup.
The Drifters low post game developed without Jackson, O’Shea, and Shelley’s collective presence. Camari and Cynari Davis played a strong high-low passing game to secure crucial points for Colonial Beach. When Ragen Gibson hit a bank shot jumper to end the half, the Drifters had essentially demoralized the Ponies, taking what was a tie game and ballooning it in their favor, 28-11.
Colonial Beach frustrated Chincoteague into the third quarter, scoring the first four points of the second half, stretching its run to 21-0.
A couple of buckets from Shelley and Lexi Marshall gave the Ponies a glimmer of hope, but the Drifters guards, as well as Camari Davis, dashed any hopes Chincoteague may have had.
Muse began to score in bunches with great accuracy from behind the arc. When Muse hit her second 3-pointer of the half early in the fourth quarter the game was sealed. Muse finished with 20 points, a game high, and was complemented in double figures by Phillips with 11 and Camari Davis with 10. Shelley was the lone double figure scorer for Chincoteague with 11 points.
Though the game was beyond reach for the Ponies, the action still remained competitive, and players like Brianna Hess, Maxine Fernandez, and Kyla McClain all made their mark on the score sheet, and got good playing time in advance of next week’s showdown with Northampton.
Hopes for a league championship were not erased by this loss, but Bloxom believes it will likely require a larger effort to unseat the current Yellow Jackets’ team.