Athletics News

Men's Basketball

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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