Skipjacks improve playoff position
Chesapeake drops Garrett in pivotal Region XX match-up
McHENRY – This was more than just your typical regular-season game.
Chesapeake College rallied to defeat host Garrett College, 78-69, Wednesday night in a men´s basketball contest with major postseason implications. Indeed, Chesapeake head coach John Mappas felt this game was central to his seven-man team´s NJCAA Region XX Division I title hopes.
"You can get by playing two games in a row with seven players," said Mappas. "Playing three straight days with seven players is very difficult. We absolutely had to avoid that play-in game."
Chesapeake (18-3 overall, 10-3 Maryland JuCo) improved to 2-1 in games against the other four Region XX Division I teams. That leaves the Skipjacks behind region-leading Hagerstown Community College (4-0 against regional opponents), but ahead of Garrett (2-2), Potomac State College (1-3), and Allegany College of Maryland (0-3) in head-to-head match-ups.
While the seeding criteria for the March tournament is subjective – last year, for example, the Skipjacks were seeded behind Garrett despite having beaten the Lakers in the regular season and posting a better record against regional rivals – it seems unlikely the Skipjacks could drop as low as fourth given their overall record and mark against regional opponents.
"We don´t want to have to play that Friday play-in game (between the fourth and fifth seeds)," said Mappas, whose team is probably locked into a replay of last year´s region semifinal against Garrett, which was won by Chesapeake.
The Skipjacks looked headed for the play-in game when Garrett took a 35-31 halftime lead against their lethargic guests.
"After that long bus ride, we looked like we were playing in quicksand in the first half," said Mappas. "For us, 31 points in a half is not going to get the job done. We needed to play with more energy."
Chesapeake´s energy level increased in the second half, as did the Skipjacks´ free-throw attempts.
The Skipjacks hit 11-of-14 free throws in the second half, compared with Garrett´s 0-for-2 effort from the line after halftime. Chesapeake finished the game 18-for-26 as compared to the Lakers´ 7-for-10 effort at the line.
Chesapeake´s Andrew Lee scored a game-high 24 points and Aubin Reeves added 17, including a 12-point second half that included 6-of-8 free-throw shooting. Ty Newman joined them in double figures with 16 points, while Preston Faulk and Terrance Wright added eight each.
Glen Izevbigie scored a team-high 14 points to pace the Lakers. Shawn Greenfield added 11 and C.J. Glen chipped in 10.
Chesapeake´s win also improved the Skipjacks´ position for the state tournament, which takes place next month a week before regionals. The Skipjacks are now in third place by themselves in the 18-team league, trailing only unbeaten Cecil College (20-0, 10-0) and Hagerstown Community College (18-4, 12-2).
Montgomery College/Germantown (15-7, 11-4), Prince George´s Community College (14-6, 9-4), and Garrett (14-6, 8-4) are all one loss behind Chesapeake, with seventh-place Montgomery College/Rockville (13-8, 7-5) two back and eighth-place Allegany (8-13, 8-6) three behind. The top eight teams in the 16-team tournament host first-round playoff games.
Chesapeake has now won four straight, including consecutive wins over Germantown, Allegany, and Garrett. The Skipjacks will try to complete a tough, four-game stretch Friday night when Frederick Community College (13-7, 6-6) visits Wye Mills for a 7 p.m. contest.
"Frederick has a great program with a great coach," said Mappas of Dave Miller, who built high school powerhouses at Walkersville and Poolesville prior to accepting the FCC position. "He (Miller) has won everywhere he´s been – he might be one of the best high school coaches in the state."
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