Skipjacks do the little things, get big playoff win
Chesapeake advances to state quarters for first time since 2007
WYE MILLS Their performance wasn’t long on style points, but it featured plenty of gritty determination.
There was the extra effort on a loose ball by Becca Wooten, who managed to tip the ball inside to Ashleigh Jones for a layup.
There was a tough baseline drive by Ravin Sterling, which opened up Jen Carr for an easy layup off Sterling’s feed.
There was Carr’s dive to the floor, resulting in a steal that broke up a potential scoring play.
And those plays were all in the space of two minutes, with the game on the line.
Eighth-seeded Chesapeake College used these and a myriad of other hustle plays to defeat ninth-seeded Howard Community College, 54-48, Tuesday night in the first round of the women’s basketball state championship tournament. The Skipjacks (9-16) ended a six-game losing streak while advancing to the state quarterfinals for the first time since 2007.
"We came in here (the team room) before the game and he (head coach Damon Nichols) said, ’Win or turn your stuff in,’ " said Jones, who had 13 points, eight rebounds and three steals. "It feels good it’s been a long time since we won a game."
"We didn’t want this to be our last game," said Wooten (seven points, four rebounds, four assists, two blocked shots).
Chesapeake will face top-seeded regular-season state champion Allegany College of Maryland (23-3) in Thursday’s 5 p.m. quarterfinal at Frederick Community College, which is the site for the tournament’s final three rounds. The Trojans swept two games from Chesapeake this year by a combined margin of 93 points, but the Skipjacks are happy to play them again in the state tournament.
"The regular season is over this is a new season for us," said Nichols. "We just have to be ready to play when we go to Frederick on Thursday."
Chesapeake’s Ashley Molock (game-high 18 points) and Howard’s Corliss Bowles led their respective teams with 11 first-half points as the teams played to a 31-31 halftime draw. The Skipjacks, however, held Bowles scoreless after halftime and led throughout the second half.
Even so, Howard refused to lose contact with the Skipjacks. Chesapeake’s largest lead of the game was just eight points and that came in the final 94 seconds.
Molock put the Skipjacks ahead to stay with a jumper to start the second half and Jones followed with a jumper for a 35-31 lead. The Skipjacks then opened up a working margin with an 8-2 run that turned a 35-34 lead into a 43-36 cushion. Four different Skipjacks scored in the run, climaxed by Molock’s 3-pointer with 9:36 remaining.
Howard thrice pulled within four points, the last time on a rebound basket by Neisha Reid that made it 48-44. Carr (10 points, team-high 11 rebounds, two steals) then scored a layup off Sterling’s baseline drive and Molock sank two free throws to restore Chesapeake’s eight-point bulge.
"They were really physical, so we had to go up extra-strong and make all the free throws we could," said Jones.
"It was very intense," added Sterling, who had six points and tied Wooten for the team lead in assists with four. "We got what we wanted a win. We did the little things that’s what we work on the most in practice."
Cathy Clarke led Howard (6-17) with 17 points, but Bowles was the only other Dragon to reach double figures.
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