'Jacks rout Garrett College to win region title
Lee named tourney MVP; Chesapeake advances to district tourney
HAGERSTOWN The Skipjacks made their regional men’s basketball championship look almost ridiculously easy Sunday afternoon at Hagerstown Community College.
From the game-opening, 13-0 run to the 30-point second-half lead, Chesapeake College dominated the NJCAA Division I Region XX title game from start to finish. The top-seeded Skipjacks (27-4) shot 73 percent from the field and rolled over third-seeded Garrett College, 96-74, to advance to this weekend’s District III tournament in New York.
Andrew Lee, the 6-foot-6 sophomore transfer from Morgan State University, finished with a game-high 29 points, seven rebounds and four assists on the way to earning Tournament Most Valuable Player honors. Teammates Ty Newman (24 points, six rebounds, five assists) and Aubin Reeves (14 points, five rebounds, three assists) joined Lee on the all-tournament squad.
"It (the title) means a lot I really haven’t played on a lot of championship teams," said Lee, who made 13 of 16 shots from the field. "It just started in warm-ups again today. We were ready."
The title is only the third Region XX championship in school history, with this year’s men’s basketball team joining the 1981 women’s softball squad and 2005 baseball team as Chesapeake’s only regional champs. It’s the first regional crown for Chesapeake’s hugely successful head coach, John Mappas, who had the Skipjacks in their second consecutive title game.
"We played well today because that (Garrett) isn’t a bad team," said Mappas. "We played pretty well defensively, too, for the first 30 minutes before we got into foul trouble."
Newman said the Division II title game that preceded the Chesapeake-Garrett contest a stunning, 98-95 overtime win by second-seeded Prince George’s Community College over top-seeded and previously undefeated Cecil College may have had something to do with Chesapeake’s fast start against the Lakers (17-11).
"We saw the upset before our game," observed Newman. "That’s when reality kicked in."
The Skipjacks’ opening 13-0 run included two baskets each by Reeves and Barry Bratten (eight points). Lee had five points during the run, including a three-point play to cap the spree.
Garrett didn’t score until Shawn Greenfield (13 points) hit a jumper five minutes into the game. The Lakers, who scored a 75-71 semifinal upset over second-seeded Hagerstown Community College, never got closer than 10 points after the Skipjacks’ opening run.
Chesapeake’s biggest lead of the first half was 21 points, the last time on a Lee layup that completed his 19-point first half and gave the Skipjacks a 47-26 cushion. Preston Faulk (10 points) capped the Skipjacks’ impressive first-half performance with a baseline jumper at the buzzer that gave Chesapeake a 49-30 halftime advantage.
The onslaught continued in the second half after Mappas cautioned his team at intermission about the dangers of a letdown. Chesapeake’s lead reached 30 points at 74-44 when Lee banged home a jumper and hit the ensuing free throw for a three-point play with 11:11 remaining.
"We told them at halftime when you get into the playoffs you have to cut the head off," said Mappas. "You give them (the Lakers) any hopes in the first four or five minutes of the second half and you’re going to find yourself in a ballgame."
Terrance Wright scored 11 points as the Skipjacks continued their season-long balance with five players in double figures.
Terrance Taylor (14 points) and Glen Izevigie (12 points) joined Greenfield in double figures for Garrett.
The title was particularly fulfilling for a Skipjack team that lost four players including two starters to academic ineligibility at midseason and finishing the season with just seven players.
"I’m pretty sure when everyone saw that we were down to seven players they said, ’Wow, they’re going down the drain. They can’t continue to win with seven.’ " said Newman. "But we did."
Division II championship PGCC 98, Cecil College 95 (OT)
HAGERSTOWN Otamere Oronsaye’s 3-pointer with 0.1 seconds remaining in overtime lifted the Owls to the win and the NJCAA Division II national tournament berth.
Cecil had a chance to win the game in regulation, but Rob Lowery missed the second of two free throws with 0.4 seconds remaining.
Eric Vann scored a game-high 31 points, including six 3-pointers, and teammate Robert Spencer added 28 as the Owls’ starting backcourt accounted for more than three-fifths of the Prince George’s offense. No one else reached double figures for the Owls (23-6).
Lowery, who played for Chesapeake College two seasons ago, scored a team-high 19 points for the Seahawks (31-1). Six Seahawks reached double figures.
Cecil’s first loss put a sudden end to the season for the Seahawks, who have been the No. 1-ranked Division II team in the country for the past 10 weeks.
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