Warriors Battle Ponies and March to Victory

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Landon King opens the game with a 3-point shot in the corner. Photo by Matthew Yoder.

By Matthew Yoder

For three quarters Nandua built a commanding lead over Chincoteague, executing effectively on defense with Nandua’s guards on full-court pressure. The Ponies fought the Warriors at their own game in the fourth, mounting a high energy comeback to make the game interesting. In the end, the Warriors maintained their composure and left the island with a 75-62 victory, sending the Ponies to their first defeat of the season, while running the Warriors’ record to 2-1.

Landon King opened the game with a corner three-point basket for Chincoteague, but from there Nandua tightened its defense. The Warriors relentlessly transitioned from made baskets to disrupting the passing lanes for the Ponies. Gerald Pitt particularly frustrated the Ponies in the quarter, be it grabbing defensive rebounds and racing coast to coast for a layup or jumping in front of the inbound for an easy score.

For a time, the Ponies cut through the tempo and employed their size to match scores with the Warriors. Chincoteague held the lead at 11-10 after a poised drive in the paint from Brandon Bundick. Tremere Summerville followed with an open look from the three-point line for the Warriors, and they never looked back. The Warriors ended the quarter with an 8-point lead, 19-11.

The teams traded baskets in the second quarter, with Thomas Pitts driving hard for the Ponies and AhkTavius Harmon stepping up for the Warriors. Harmon would go on to fill the stats sheet in the quarter, defensively playing havoc against Chincoteague, while shooting a high percentage from the field, including a pair of three-point baskets.

Despite their smaller lineup, the Warriors owned the boards, creating second-chance point opportunities and scoring in bunches. Ayden Leonard helped keep the Ponies in the game with 6 points in the quarter, but the Warriors’ lead swelled to 13 at halftime. For Chincoteague coach Timmy Johnson, the reason his team dug such a deep hole couldn’t be clearer.

“They (Nandua) shot the three ball and grabbed boards,” said Johnson.

His team was tested by the Warriors speed on defense, but further complicated their margins by failing to rebound and defend behind the arc.

Little changed in the third quarter. Harmon continued to assert his will for Nandua. Dribble drives and layups off steals exemplified his commanding presence on the court. He finished the game with 22 points. Harmon was more focused on a total team effort, however. He humbly summed up his role as captain for the Warriors.

“I was pleased with getting my team in the game, and livening up the game,” said Harmon.

His coach, Trelle Warner, went a step further when evaluating the play of his senior.

“AhkTavius shot the ball extremely well. He led the spark and let the guys know where they had to be,” said Warner.

Nandua started the fourth up 24, and rested a few of their starters.

The Ponies used the fourth quarter to test a fullcourt pressure game on defense themselves. The experiment worked. The energy they brought in the fourth contributed to a captivating close to the game. They played aggressively and scored in many facets from numerous players. Bundick and Leonard lead the charge, but enthusiastic play from King and Giovanni Roasnova narrowed the lead to 11 late in the quarter. The Warriors inserted their starters again and never seemed to lose their composure as their lead shrank. Pitt continued to play strong defense for Nandua, eliminating a closer approach from Chincoteague with blocks in the paint.

Chincoteague’s run was exciting but ultimately too little too late. Coach Johnson shouldered the blame for the loss. His players prompted him to run the full-court pressure, to which he eventually agreed.

“They said they wanted to work the full court, I should have let them get at it earlier,” Johnson said.

He was concerned about their stamina.

“We can do it in spurts, but tonight they showed a lot,” said Johnson.

Coach Warner was happy with a total game effort from his Warriors.

“They stay composed and fought hard when Chincoteague made a run,” said Warner.

In JV action, the Warriors defeated the Ponies 72-20. They were paced by truly dynamic efforts from Jordan Mapp, Zykesse Davis, and Tanie Smith. Smith, a freshman, finished with 22 points, at one point scoring 11 points in a matter of two minutes. The game also included a buzzer-beating half-court shot from Chincoteague’s Marcelo Rosanova in the final second of the first quarter.

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