Skipjacks land top seed in regional tournament
Chesapeake's run to state tourney finals lands team No. 1 ranking
FREDERICK Chesapeake College’s 122-111 semifinal win over Hagerstown Community College in the Maryland Junior College Athletic Conference men’s basketball tournament Sunday afternoon has already earned the Skipjacks a tangible reward.
Chesapeake (25-3) has been installed as the top seed in this week’s NJCAA Region XX Division I championship tournament. It is the first time in school history that the Skipjacks have earned the No. 1 seed.
While pleased that his team claimed the top seed, Chesapeake head coach John Mappas said it’s of little practical consequence in the balanced, five-team regional tournament.
"It’s nice to be seeded No. 1, but any team can win in this region," said Mappas. "It’s wide open. There’s no difference between one, two, three, four and five."
All tournament games will be played at Hagerstown Community College, which is hosting the Division I, II and III regional tournaments.
Fourth-seeded Potomac State College of West Virginia University (17-7) and fifth-seeded Allegany College of Maryland (13-14) open the Division I regional Thursday night with an 8 p.m. play-in game. Chesapeake plays the winner of the play-in game in Saturday night’s 7 p.m. semifinal.
Second-seeded Hagerstown (22-7) and third-seeded Garrett College (16-10) play in Saturday’s 5 p.m. semifinal. The two semifinal winners meet in Sunday’s 2 p.m. title game, with the champion advancing to the district tournament.
Mappas said his only wish was to avoid playing in the play-in game, which requires a team to win three games in three days. That would have been particularly tough on Chesapeake’s seven-player squad.
"The top three seeds all got what we wanted to stay out of the play-in game," said Mappas.
The tournament’s balance can be seen in the participants’ head-to-head meetings. Hagerstown has split two games with both Chesapeake and Allegany, while the Skipjacks pulled out a 96-95 win over Allegany on Aubin Reeves’ last-second free throws.
Mappas said a semifinal rematch with Allegany which beat Chesapeake in last year’s regional title game would be a tough test for his Skipjacks.
"Allegany is so much bigger and stronger than we are," said Mappas. "If we play them, we have to stay within eight or nine rebounds of them. We can’t get outrebounded by 20 and hope to stay in the game."
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