Skipjacks go on the offensive to reach state finals
Bratten's opening slam sets tone in 122-111 win over Hagerstown
FREDERICK The Skipjacks’ strategy was clear from the opening tap they were going on the offensive.
Andrew Lee swatted the opening tap toward a streaking Barry Bratten, who threw down a slam dunk to start the scoring in Sunday’s men’s basketball state tournament semifinal against Hagerstown Community College. Second-seeded Chesapeake College stayed on the attack virtually the entire game while outgunning the third-seeded Hawks, 122-111.
"We’ve always talked about doing it, but we never got it done," said Bratten of the "tap" play. "Andrew threw it toward me and I just had to go get it."
That was just the first of many highlight-reel plays by the Skipjacks, who advanced to Monday night’s 7 p.m. Maryland Junior College Athletic Conference title game against top-seeded and undefeated Cecil College. Chesapeake shot 63 percent from the field, including 12-of-19 from the 3-point line, and scored 64 second-half point to break open a close game.
The Skipjacks (25-3) led by as many as 29 points while extending their winning streak to 11 games. Ironically, Chesapeake’s last loss was an 87-80 regular-season defeat at Hagerstown.
Ty Newman, who missed the regular-season loss to Hagerstown due to a one-game suspension, scored a career-high 32 points.
"I knew I let my team down the first time," said Newman of the suspension, which he drew for being ejected from the previous game. "I told them I had a lot to prove to them."
Newman more than paid his debt against Hagerstown, hitting 11-of-17 from the field, including 5-of-7 from 3-point range. And Newman wasn’t even the Skipjacks’ hottest shooter.
Lee, the guard playing inside because the undersized Skipjacks need his 6-foot-6 frame near the basket, hit 9-of-12 shots on the way to 26 points. He also pulled down a game-high 13 rebounds, dealt out seven assists, and recorded three steals.
"I don’t even know how to explain it it was that good," Lee said of the Skipjacks’ torrid shooting.
Lee credited the game-long offensive onslaught to assistant coach Damon Nichols, who told the players in their pre-game meeting that Chesapeake’s slow starts in the previous two games were due to lackadaisical warm-ups.
"Coach Nichols told us to stop playing around in warm-ups and we did," said Lee. "Then when game-time came we were just ready to play."
The Skipjacks’ starting guards, Aubin Reeves and Preston Faulk, combined for 39 points. Reeves (nine assists, five steals) scored 20 points and Faulk finished with 19. Bratten was the fifth Skipjack in double figures with 15 points.
Chesapeake scored 58 first-half points, but only had a six-point cushion after an offense-oriented first half. There were even more offensive fireworks in a second half in which the teams combined for 123 points.
"There was no defense played out there - it was just all offense," said Lee.
Chesapeake head coach John Mappas also noted the lack of defense.
"I’ve always wanted to coach in the NBA. I just never thought it would be at Frederick," deadpanned Mappas.
Hagerstown, however, had one offensive lull a 2-minute, 54-second span of the second half in which the Hawks failed to score and that was all the Skipjacks needed to break the game wide open. Newman scored 10 points in a 19-0 run that gave the Skipjacks an 88-62 cushion.
The Skipjacks broke the century mark on a Lee slam with 8:41 remaining that gave Chesapeake its biggest lead of the game at 101-72. Hagerstown fought back gamely, getting as close as nine points, but the Skipjacks scored their final 13 points from the line after Hagerstown was forced to foul to stop the clock.
Chesapeake College 74, MC/Rockville 64
FREDERICK Andrew Lee scored 18 of his 24 points in the second half, including nine in a 22-4 run that put the Skipjacks in front to stay, as Chesapeake advanced to the state semifinals.
Rockville, which led by as many as 12 points in the first half, took a 45-37 lead on Tyshon Reid’s 3-pointer five minutes into the second half. Chesapeake answered with its 22-4 surge, taking the lead for good on a put-back by Lee that made it 50-49.
Lee had three assists to go with his nine points during the game-turning run, which gave the Skipjacks a 59-49 cushion. Preston Faulk had five of his 12 points points during the run, including a three-pointer to cap it, and set up another basket with a steal that led to a fast-break basket by Ty Newman (18 points).
Barry Bratten was the fourth Skipjack in double figures with 13 points.
Donte Nicholas led 10th-seeded Rockville with 20 points. Julian Armstrong (14 points) and Vertner Aldridge (11 points) also reached double digits.
Newman scored 14 of his 18 points in the first half to keep the Skipjacks in the game. Chesapeake trailed at halftime in each of their first two state tournament contests.
The Skipjacks (24-3) used the win to avenge one of their three losses. Rockville beat the Skipjacks, 82-81, on Justin Ikhide’s put-back with 0.3 seconds remaining in their regular-season meeting.
Chesapeake College 86, College of Southern Maryland 69
WYE MILLS Andrew Lee had 24 points, 14 rebounds and 10 blocked shots to help rally the Skipjacks to a first-round state tournament victory.
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