Skipjacks hitting their stride
Chesapeake weathers Storm, wins for sixth time in seven games
WYE MILLS It was just one short stretch in the second half of Saturday’s 94-89 men’s basketball victory over the Tidewater Community College Storm. That stretch, however, illustrated why the Skipjacks have won six of their last seven games.
Matthew Jackson started the run with one 3-pointer, D.J. Nicholson ended it with another, and five different Skipjacks scored during the 14-2 surge that broke the game open. Chesapeake College placed five players in double figures as the Skipjacks (10-9) won their third straight to move over .500 for the first time since opening night.
"We’re all unselfish we don’t really care who scores as long as we do score," said Ryan Waters, who had 16 points and a team-high 11 rebounds. "We want to get the ball to the hot player."
Nicholson was as hot as anyone, pouring in a game-high 26 points and coming up with a team-high three steals. Jimmie Jenkins (10 rebounds, five assists) added 16 points, Rod Pegram scored 14 and Jackson finished with 11 for the Skipjacks. Louis Simpson was nearly a sixth double-digit scorer for the Skipjacks, finishing with nine points and 10 rebounds.
"It’s all about sharing the ball," said Chesapeake head coach Joel Dearring. "Everybody on this team believes in each other. That makes us tough to beat."
The Skipjacks will find out just how tough they are to beat over the next two weeks as they play the top four teams in the Maryland Junior College Athletic Conference standings.
Chesapeake plays at Allegany College (10-6 overall, 7-2 league) Wednesday and at Frederick Community College (14-3, 7-3) Saturday. Chesapeake then hosts Cecil College (15-4, 8-2) and first-place Hagerstown Community College (15-3, 9-1) next week.
"We’re really excited," Dearring said of the Skipjacks’ opportunity to test themselves against the league’s top tier. "The team’s feeling really good about themselves."
Chesapeake took the lead for good with an early 11-0 run. Nicholson got things going with a 3-pointer that gave the Skipjacks the lead, 6-5, and Chesapeake scored the next eight points on fast-break opportunities to build a 14-5 cushion.
Nicholson, who finished with 18 first-half points, scored 14 of Chesapeake’s first 29 points. Jenkins added 10 as the Skipjacks took a 53-43 halftime lead.
Waters opened the second half with a trey and Jackson added a jumper as Chesapeake stretched its lead to 58-43, but the Storm whittled their deficit to nine on a 9-3 run that included two inside shots by Ryan Toppin and a tip-in by 6-foot-5 Eric Holt. That’s when Chesapeake responded with its 14-2 scoring spree to open up a 75-54 advantage.
"We knew they could shoot," said Tidewater head coach Ed McInnis. "If they had a couple of guys who could work in the post, there’s no telling how good they could be this year."
Tidewater mounted several comeback tries, but the Storm couldn’t get any closer than 10 points until the final minute. The visitors finished with game with an 8-1 run that made the score competitive.
The Skipjacks, with no one taller than 6-foot-3, still managed 24 offensive rebounds to help keep the taller Storm at bay. Seven of Waters’ 11 rebounds came off the offensive glass, much to McInnis’ chagrin.
"We should have controlled the boards," said McInnis. "We had an edge (in height) and didn’t use it."
Joe Spiers led Tidewater with 24 points. Jared Whittington (16 points), Alonzo Holmes (13) Miran Smith (12) and Holt (11) also reached double figures.
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