By Matthew Yoder
The Chincoteague girls invited the Lady Indians from Wicomico for a Monday matinee tipoff. Leyanna Pettit emerged as the featured performer, stealing the show with 28 points, helping to deliver a 67-29 win for the Lady Indians. Pettit split her points equally between halves, 14 in the first and 14 after the break.
It was apparent in warmups that Wicomico would be a formidable opponent for Chincoteague, leaving little room for error. The Indians’ expert timing with ball movement and pursuit on defense was without question but initially they struggled with shooting the basketball. The Ponies kept pace with jump shots from Lindsay O’Shea and Lexi Marshall and a host of missed layups from the Lady Indians. The game was called tight, however, and Emma Jackson quickly earned two fouls for Chincoteague, stymying her defensive presence. Wicomico by no means played mistake-free basketball but carried a 6-point lead over to the second quarter after a bucket from Jonysha Prucien in transition. Chincoteague failed to keep possession for the last shot and Pettit sped down the court, feeding Prucien as time expired.
The Indians began to separate themselves from the Ponies in the second quarter, and particularly the final minute of the half. Wicomico frantically pressured Chincoteague on defense, leading to few scoring opportunities for the Ponies in the quarter. By comparison, Pettit began to assert herself by means of a textbook form jump shot. She scored from all over the court, notching 13 points in the quarter, and really helping her team pull away with a trio of 3-point baskets in the final minute. Chincoteague again failed to hold for the final shot of the quarter and Pettit made them pay, stretching the lead to 20 at the half, 29-9.
The Ponies played much more aggressively out of the break, nearly doubling the amount of points in the third quarter that they had scored in the first half. Chincoteague got points from a number of players in the quarter by taking the game to the paint against Wicomico. Rebounds created scores for Jackson, as well as Caroline Shelley, who drew some hard fouls and converted points from the line. Alanna Hall also kept her composure, completing an and-one off a strong play inside.
Pettit continued to carry the Indians with 10 more in the quarter, keeping her team comfortably ahead by 17 entering the final stanza.
Wicomico’s speed and defensive pressure was on full display in the fourth quarter. The Indians left no opportunity for Chincoteague to mount a comeback, scoring the first 10 points in the quarter on the fast break off of steals. Wicomico couldn’t make foul shots, but it didn’t matter. The Indians scored in bunches, converting the easy layups that plagued them earlier in the game. Pettit played an especially electrifying game but was supported by others on her team, such as Shymira Shelton, who finished with 15 points, and Kiahya Camper, who handled the ball with great poise. The Ponies were led in scoring by Hall with 8, Shelley with 7, and O’Shea with 6.
Chincoteague coach, Jimmy Bloxom, summed up the opponent in three words and assessed the game in the context of his team’s play moving forward with teams on the Shore.
“They were quick, it makes you better for districts and it’s better than any practice we could have had,” said Bloxom.
The Ponies moved back into district play the following night, gaining a 43-7 win over Arcadia. Caroline Shelley had 18 points and Alanna Hall added 13. The Ponies now head into the holiday break with a 3-2 record and 2-1 in district play.