Skipjacks stage late rally to beat Catonsville
Nicholson, National Player of the Week, breaks thumb in victory
WYE MILLS Freshman guard D.J. Nicholson rallied Chesapeake College from a double-digit deficit to an 86-77 men’s basketball victory Wednesday night over Community College Baltimore County-Catonsville.
Now someone else will have to take up the slack for the Skipjacks for the next month.
Nicholson, who scored a game-high 21 points on 8-of-13 shooting, broke his left thumb as the Skipjacks (2-3) snapped a three-game losing streak. Strong defense, which was in short supply over the first four games of the season, also played a key role as Chesapeake limited the Cardinals to 32 second-half points.
"We actually found our defense in the second half," said Chesapeake head coach Joel Dearring, whose team had allowed more than 107 points per game over the season’s first four games. "We used a series of traps and presses in the second half and they seemed to work."
Dearring said Nicholson this week’s NJCAA Division II National Player of the Week, who is averaging a torrid 30 points per game will be keenly missed. The McKinley Tech (Washington, D.C.) grad already has 44- and 39-point games to his credit this season.
"For our team, that could be devastating," Dearring said of Nicholson’s injury. "You just have to look at it as a case of opening up opportunities for other people. We’ll have to see who wants to make the most of it."
Chesapeake’s Jimmie Jenkins added 18 points to go along with team highs in rebounds (10) and assists (six). Matthew Jackson scored 13 points while Jeff Holmes and Darnell Harris each contributed 11 for the Skipjacks, who overcame a 45-41 halftime deficit.
Kevin Jackson led Catonsville (0-3) with 16 points, followed by 14 each from Mark Evans and A.J. Arthur, and 13 from Mark Alston.
Chesapeake trailed by as many as 11 points before launching its comeback. Dearring said the Skipjacks who have trailed by double digits in all five games this season, including both wins don’t seem to mind the challenge of digging out from a hole.
"Until we’re down double figures they don’t seem to get interested," said Dearring, only partly in jest.
"The guys gave us the same type of effort they’ve given in every game," he added more seriously. "We played better in the second half than we did in the first, which seems to be something we do every game."
The Skipjacks play at Hagerstown Community College next Monday and host the College of Southern Maryland next Tuesday in a pair of 7 p.m. contests.
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