Skipjack comeback stuns Frederick
Chesapeake uses defense, 15-0 run to overcome double-digit deficit
FREDERICK If this had been a boxing match, it may have been stopped in the first five minutes. Fortunately for Chesapeake College, men’s basketball rules require the entire 40 minutes to be played regardless of the situation.
The visiting Skipjacks took Frederick Community College’s best punch a game-opening, 14-1 run by the Cougars and then rallied for an impressive, 76-68 victory Saturday night. Hubert King scored a game-high 23 points and Kentrell Ricketts added 14 as Chesapeake (4-3 overall, 2-0 league) stayed unbeaten in the Maryland Junior College Athletic Conference.
Chesapeake head coach John Mappas said his team’s man-to-man defense was the key to the comeback.
"We forced a lot of turnovers (27) with our man-to-man defense and we scored a lot of baskets off those turnovers," said Mappas. "Even after falling behind 14-1, we stayed with what we were doing defensively. Then, with about three or four minutes left in the first half, we extended our man-to-man and that was very effective."
Chesapeake’s decision to extend its defense forced six Frederick turnovers and coincided with a 12-0 run by the Skipjacks that pulled them within 32-29 at the half. The Skipjacks then broke the game open with a second-half run, scoring 15 straight points to turn a 40-38 deficit into a 53-40 advantage.
King, Ricketts and Davon Heath (nine points) each scored four points during the 15-0 spurt, which also included a three-point play from Terrance Wright (eight points). Ricketts started the run with a game-tying basket and Heath then scored a hoop to put the Skipjacks ahead to stay.
"Kentrell Ricketts has been our most consistent player so far this season," said Mappas.
Jimmy Mosser (nine points), Brooks Cottman (seven points), and Preston Faulk (six points) rounded out Chesapeake’s balanced scoring.
Neal Pitt scored a team-high 18 points for Frederick while teammate Larry Gbenyon also reached double figures with 12 points.
Mappas, in the first year of his second tour as Chesapeake’s head coach, refused to attach any additional significance to beating the highly regarded Cougars (4-5), who recently lost to defending NJCAA Division II national champion Cecil Community College by just five points.
"Any win for us is a big win," said Mappas, who initially hoped to squeeze out three wins in his team’s season-opening, eight-game road trip.
The Skipjacks will face an even bigger challenge Wednesday night, when they conclude the road trip at Allegany College of Maryland (4-4).
"Year in and year out, Allegany is one of the top teams in the state and region," said Mappas. "We’re going to have to play very tough defense to stay in that game."
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