Seahawks hold off Chesapeake, 82-70
Skipjacks take their shot against the national champions
WYE MILLS Bill Lewit understands that every team gets up to play the reigning national champions. He just wishes his Cecil Community College men’s basketball team would come to that realization.
"Sometimes our players have a feeling of entitlement," Lewit said Wednesday night after his Seahawks escaped Chesapeake College with an 82-70 win over the host Skipjacks. "They don’t understand about us being other teams’ marquee game. If you’re not ready every single night, a quality team that’s well-coached like Chesapeake will have a chance at the end."
And that’s exactly what happened. Chesapeake, which trailed by 16 points early in the second half, pulled within 73-70 and had a chance to tie on Jimmy Mosser’s missed three-point shot. Keyron Sheard then took over the game, scoring seven straight points as the Seahawks finished the contest with a 9-0 run.
"We’re down three and we take a bad shot. We’re down five (moments later) and we take a bad shot," lamented Chesapeake head coach John Mappas. "We were too impatient offensively down the stretch."
Some of the Skipjacks’ offensive impatience can probably be attributed to Lewit’s second-half decision to switch from man-to-man defense to a 2-3 zone.
"Going into the game I knew one of Chesapeake’s strengths was dribble-penetration by their guards," said Lewit. "I felt like they were exploiting us too much with that dribble-penetration, and going to a zone might curtail some of their free-wheeling offense. If nothing else, it burned some clock."
Sheard scored 17 of his 19 points in the second half, taking up where Aaron Wyatt left off. Wyatt scored all 20 of his points in the first half, including five three-pointers, as Cecil took a 46-39 lead into intermission.
Les Simmons, a 6-foot-7 forward, provided the inside scoring for the Seahawks (16-2 overall, 9-0 Maryland JuCo) with a game-high 21 points.
Davon Heath scored a team-high 18 points and Hubert King added 16 for the Skipjacks (10-8, 6-4). Kentrell Ricketts and Jimmy Mosser scored 12 each as Chesapeake placed four players in double figures.
While Mappas lamented the Skipjacks’ missed opportunity, King said Chesapeake can build upon a solid effort against a team currently ranked second in the nation in NJCAA Division II.
"We were under-sized, under-skilled and still in it at the end," said King. "We didn’t win, but there’s an upside to playing so close to a team like that. Now we have to see how far we can go."
While the Skipjacks once again played without injured point guard Preston Faulk, they also didn’t have to play against Denell Stephens, the second-leading rebounder in the Maryland Junior College Athletic Conference. Stephens was held out of Wednesday’s game for unspecified reasons.
"We have to remember they were playing without one of the top rebounders in the state," said Mappas.
The Skipjacks host Howard Community College Friday night at 7 p.m.
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