BCCC hands Skipjacks first home loss
Panthers’ Smith scores 41 in crowd-quieting performance
WYE MILLS The Skipjacks battled literally to the final second to avoid their first home loss of the men’s basketball season.
Chad Church’s jumper at the buzzer capped a 52-point second half by Chesapeake College that, while impressive, wasn’t enough to keep Baltimore City Community College from notching an 85-80 victory. The Skipjacks (9-7 overall, 4-5 Maryland JuCo) fell behind by 20 points late in the first half and spent the whole second half trying to dig their way out of that hole.
"They don’t have any quit in them that’s a positive thing," said Chesapeake head coach Joel Dearring of his team, which couldn’t overcome a 4-for-25 effort from the 3-point line and 8-for-15 foul shooting. "They competed. They want to win. They just have to learn to do the intangibles, the little things boxing out, being where you’re told to be on defense. If you do things like that, that’s how you’re going to beat a team like Baltimore."
Carlos Smith scored a game-high 41 points, including 23 in the first half, to pace the Panthers (15-6, 9-2). Smith and Sean Farr, who scored all 11 of his points before intermission, combined to outscore the entire Chesapeake roster in the first half.
It was a different story in the second half as the Skipjacks’ shooters began to warm up. It was also too late.
"They have a veteran group of guys that have played together," said Dearring of BCCC, which is likely to be the top seed in the NJCAA Division II Region XX tournament. "We’re young. We haven’t yet grasped if you’re going to knock out the top contenders, you’ve got to fight them as soon as the first bell rings. It’s still a learning experience for them. I told our guys if we played at the beginning like we played at the end we might have had a different ending."
Gamari Mayfield, who scored a team-high 26 points for the Skipjacks, had 16 after the break to help Chesapeake cut into the considerable deficit. Delfawn Worrells, who had nine second-half points, and Rocky Harris, who scored seven after intermission, each scored 13 to join Mayfield in double figures.
Mayfield twice pulled the Skipjacks within eight points, and his last basket cut the gap to seven with less than 15 seconds remaining. He also finished with a team-high 18 rebounds, including 14 offensive.
"Gamari has been the most consistent player we’ve had in this program in my two years," said Dearring. "He’s a warrior from the word ’go’. If we had 15 Gamari’s we’d be undefeated."
The Skipjacks scored four points in the final four seconds, on a slam by Worrells (four steals) and Church’s buzzer-beater, to get as close as they had been since early in the first half.
The large home crowd Dearring publicly requested earlier in the week showed up, including more than five dozen North Dorchester Middle School students attending as part of a field trip.
"I loved the crowd. They didn’t give up on us," said Dearring. "We’d love to have some more in there (the Skipjacks’ gym)."
The crowd didn’t have much to cheer about in the beginning as the Skipjacks trailed by as many as 14 points early in the contest before pulling within 32-24 with a 6-0 spurt. Worrells scored one layup and set up another by Mayfield during the run to get the deficit back to single digits and the crowd back into the game.
Baltimore, however, answered with a 14-2 scoring spree, take the lead to 46-26 as five different Panthers scored, including two hoops each from Smith and Farr.
BCCC had a 46-28 halftime lead.
Notes: Kevin Bonsu had six points for the Skipjacks. William Gilmore, Akanni Salako and Church finished with five points each.
Baltimore hit 20-of-34 free throws, outscoring the Skipjacks by 12 at the line.
"They made more free throws than we shot, and that’s not a knock on the refs," said Dearring. "You’re not going to go to the line a lot shooting 25 3-pointers."
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