Skipjacks feel at home at home
Chesapeake College seeks similar comfort level on the road
WYE MILLS The home-court advantage has been just that this season for the Chesapeake College men’s basketball team.
Chesapeake has won eight straight home games, improving to 9-2 in Wye Mills. The latest home-court triumph Saturday’s 94-89 win over Tidewater Community College lifted the Skipjacks (10-9) over .500 for the first time since opening night.
"We call it Chesapeake Pride. The one thing that we expect is to win at ’the Peake,’ " said Chesapeake’s first-year head coach, Joel Dearring. "If you can’t win at home, you’re going to be in trouble. We just want to keep winning ’til we fill the place up.
"Young teams have a tendency to play better where they are more comfortable," added Dearring.
So far this year, the Skipjacks have played dramatically better at home compared to the road, where Chesapeake is 1-6 this season (and 0-1 in neutral-site games).
The Skipjacks score more at home, averaging 87.6 points per game compared to 81.6 on the road. Chesapeake has scored 90 or more points five times this season with all the 90-point outbursts coming at home.
The Skipjacks have also defended better at home, allowing 85.2 points per game compared to 93 on the road. The three highest point totals allowed by Chesapeake this season ranging from 106 to 129 have all come on the road.
The Skipjacks’ 1-6 road record might normally be a concern, but Dearring believes his young team is gaining confidence in its ability to win away from home. Chesapeake’s last four road games have included an overtime loss to Baltimore City, a two-point setback at Prince George’s Community College, a one-point loss at Montgomery College/Germantown and a breakthrough victory at CCBC-Dundalk.
"That was a very big win," Dearring said of the Dundalk victory, which gave Chesapeake a 6-2 record in Division II Region XX games. "There won’t be one playoff game played at Chesapeake. We have to take what we do at home and take it on the road with us."
Chesapeake will need to produce some road victories down the stretch if the Skipjacks are to complete the climb from a 4-8 start to a winning record. Four of Chesapeake’s last six regular-season games are on the road, including Saturday’s game at 16-3 Frederick.
"We’ll know where we really stand going into the playoffs," said Dearring, who believes his team is now ready for a rugged road test.
"We’re working better together," said Dearring. "Everyone understands their role. When you understand your role, it makes it easier to perform. They’re truly becoming a team and when that happens, success follows."
Notes: Leading scorer D.J. Nicholson, who had made less than 32 percent of his field-goal attempts in the previous four games, bounced back to make 10-of-21 while scoring right at his average with 26 points in the Tidewater victory. Nicholson is actually shooting a higher percentage this season from 3-point range (47.3 percent) than two-point range (41.9 percent). . . .
Jimmie Jenkins continues to fill out his stat sheet. The freshman guard leads the Skipjacks in rebounds (8.1 per game), assists (5.1) and steals (3.2) and is second on the team in scoring at 18.8 points per contest. . . .
Louis Simpson has become an increased presence on the boards for the Skipjacks. He is averaging 6.8 rebounds per game over the last five contests, including two double-figure games. . . .
Chesapeake’s men’s and women’s basketball games scheduled for Wednesday at Allegany College of Maryland have been postponed to Thursday due to a forecast of bad weather in western Maryland.
Chesapeake College’s Louis Simpson, shown driving to the basket at the Verizon Center against Montgomery College Rockville, has become one of the Skipjacks’ top rebounders in recent weeks. (Photo by Tom Miller)
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