Williams wins collegiate debut; ’Jacks split at Howard
Chesapeake hosts Catonsville Tuesday in men’s home hoop opener
After splitting a pair of season-opening games at the Howard Community College mixer over the weekend, it’s fair to say the Chesapeake College men’s basketball team is a work in progress.
Chesapeake opened the Reggie Williams Era by beating host Howard, 74-67, Friday night as Tracy Jones scored a team-high 25 points and Justin Mays added 18. The Skipjacks, however, suffered their first loss of the season Saturday night as Northern Virginia Community College ran past Chesapeake, 108-84.
"Right now, I’m continuing to learn more about the players," said Williams, the former Georgetown University All-American who was named head coach right before the start of preseason practice last month. "They’re working hard. We’re just trying to get ourselves into condition. That’s what’s missing right now. Once we get there, I think we’re going to be a really good team."
The Skipjacks will get a chance to measure their improvement in Tuesday’s 7 p.m. home opener. They host Community College of Baltimore County-Catonsville, which handed Chesapeake a 20-point preseason loss.
"They’re up-tempo, just like Nova (Northern Virginia) spot-up shooters," said Williams of Catonsville. "We really have to put our running shoes on, get back in transition and match their energy."
Friday’s win over Howard was the Chesapeake debut for not only Williams but for eight of his nine players. Jones, a 6-foot-2 sophomore forward out of Delaware’s Cape Henlopen High, and Mays, a 6-2 shooting guard from Douglass High in Prince George’s County, were the only two Skipjacks to reach double figures in the win over Howard. Josh Owens, a 6-5 freshman center from Seaford High, and Sam Sanders, a 6-2 freshman shooting guard from Caesar Rodney, each added eight points.
"The key was we had balance," said Williams. "We moved the ball a lot better than I thought we might."
Rockeem Harris, a freshman guard from Kent County High held to five points in the Howard game, exploded for a team-high 27 points in the loss to Northern Virginia. Harris also had four assists and two steals.
"Rockeem did a pretty good job getting everybody else into the flow of the offense," said Williams.
Freshman forward Andre Dickerson (Woodbridge High) added 17 points and Sanders chipped in 15, but it wasn’t enough to offset NoVa’s relentless running game.
"Our transition defense wasn’t very good," conceded Williams. "We weren’t balancing the floor very well on offense. Once the shot went up, they (NoVa) ran it down our throats. We needed to run our passing game better to neutralize their fast break."
Owens, who had nine points against Northern Virginia, pulled down 11 rebounds in each of Chesapeake’s first two games.
"I was pushing Josh in the preseason to get more rebounds. He did a great job rebounding this weekend," said Williams.
Sophomore guard Antoine White (Walt Whitman High), who suffered a season-ending knee injury in last year’s season-opener, and freshman center Harrison York (McKinley High) each had six points in the two games, while freshman forward Dennis Driggins (Colonel Richardson High) had two points in the Northern Virginia contest.
The Catonsville contest is the first game of a three-game home stand. Chesapeake hosts Mercer County (N.J.) Community College Friday night and Harcum (Pa.) Community College next Tuesday, both at 7 p.m.
"I’m excited about the season," said Williams. "I think we’ll improve as the season goes on. The guys are getting used to me and me to them."
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