Owls own boards in playoff win over Chesapeake
Skipjacks allow too many layups and second shots in state opener
LARGO There really is no effective defense against layups a lesson the Skipjacks learned Tuesday night in the first round of the Maryland Junior College Athletic Conference men’s basketball tournament.
Seventh-seeded Prince George’s Community College made 17 layups including 11 after offensive rebounds as the Owls defeated 10th-seeded Chesapeake College, 74-61, to advance to the quarter-final round of the tournament. The Owls (16-8) had a 25-9 rebounding advantage in the first half, helping them build a 45-27 halftime lead before withstanding a Chesapeake comeback that pulled the Skipjacks within two points with just less than seven minutes to play.
"We knew we wanted to attack the boards. The first half tonight was probably the best we’ve attacked them all year," said Prince George’s head coach John Wiley, whose team finished the game with a 43-33 rebounding edge.
"That’s what’s beaten us against good teams all year our inability to rebound," said Chesapeake head coach John Mappas.
Leon Willis (16 points, 11 rebounds) and Kenan Meyers (14 points, 10 rebounds) each had double-doubles for the Owls, and 6-foot-8 teammate Nasir Austin (17 points, seven rebounds) may have been even more impressive given the fact that he was frequently subjected to double-teams.
"He (Austin) was out six games injured and he’s just getting back to form," said Wiley. "He was getting double-teamed, but he was making good passes out of the double-team."
A 12-for-21 effort from the foul line including just 5-for-12 by Hubert King, who still scored a game-high 21 points while collecting seven rebounds and a quiet game offensively from Jimmy Mosser also doomed the Skipjacks’ upset hopes. Mosser, coming off a career-high 37 points in a win against Montgomery College Rockville, finished with just 10 against the Owls.
"He’s been tough," Wiley said of Mosser. "We had to know where he was and find him. We didn’t want to give him any open looks."
The Owls set the tone early by getting seven layups among their first eight baskets. Even so, Chesapeake (13-14) was within 20-17 after King hit a free throw with 6:06 remaining in the first half. Prince George’s responded with a 23-8 run that included four more layups and 3-pointers by four different players to build an 18-point cushion.
Chesapeake slowly worked its way into the game in the second half, getting the deficit back into single digits (59-51) when Felix Weeks turned a loose ball into a layup. That started a 7-0 run, including two free throws and a transition layup from Davon Heath (18 points, seven rebounds, three steals). When King hit the second of two free throws with 8:01 remaining, the Owls lead was down to 59-56.
The Skipjacks pulled within 61-59 on a Heath layup with 6:50 remaining, but that’s where the rally ended. PG responded with an 8-0 run, capped by Irvin Jones’ 3-pointer with 3:40 remaining, as the Owls finally put away the game.
"We had a big enough lead to weather the storm," noted Wiley.
While the Owls advanced to play the winner of Tuesday night’s game between second-seeded CCBC-Catonsville and 15th-seeded CCBC-Dundalk, Chesapeake is off until the NJCAA Division I Region XX tournament March 3-4 at Hagerstown Community College.
The second-seeded Skipjacks will play third-seeded Garrett College in a Saturday semifinal with the winner advancing to Sunday’s title game. Top-seeded Allegany College of Maryland is widely expected to emerge from the other half of the bracket and reach the finals.
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