Essex ousts ’Jacks from region tourney
Chesapeake ends season with eighth consecutive setback
HAGERSTOWN When you have a seven-player team, there isn’t a whole lot of margin for error.
That was clear Friday in the NJCAA Division II Region XX men’s basketball tournament. Louis Simpson, one of the Skipjacks’ more efficient players down the stretch this season, was hurt in the first half of seventh-seeded Chesapeake College’s 87-79 loss to second-seeded Community College Baltimore County-Essex.
"When you have seven players, you have to have seven healthy players," said Joel Dearring, whose first season as head coach of the Skipjacks (10-17) ended with eight straight losses.
Simpson, who hurt his side on a first-half play, finished with seven points.
An inside presence would have helped the Skipjacks as much as a healthy Simpson. The out-sized Skipjacks were handled by the Knights’ David Ford, who finished with a game-high 31 points and 18 rebounds.
"He’s truly a beast inside," Dearring said of Ford, who had 25 of his 31 points in the second half as the Knights extended what had been a 38-36 halftime lead.
Malcolm White had 16 points and Gregory Hunt added 15 for the Knights, who dropped a 74-71 decision to Baltimore City Community College in the semifinals.
Matthew Jackson was a two-way standout for the Skipjacks, finishing with a team-high 23 points while holding Jordan Benson to seven points. Benson had 18 points, all in the second half, during the Knights’ 93-72 win over Chesapeake toward the end of the regular season.
"Matthew really shut down Benson," said Dearring, noting Benson was held scoreless in the second half.
Jimmie Jenkins added 20 points for the Skipjacks and D.J. Nicholson contributed 15.
While Dearring would have preferred to finish the season with both more wins and more players, he was satisfied with his all-freshman team’s effort.
"With the way they competed the entire season, I think our future looks bright," said Dearring. "The best thing about freshmen is that they become sophomores.
"We’ll also have our first full recruiting season," added Dearring. "We reached double figures in wins and we’ll try to build on that."
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