Short-handed Skipjacks race past Baltimore City
Chesapeake stays with up-tempo attack; stays unbeaten at home
WYE MILLS There isn’t a lot of room for error when you’re a women’s basketball team with an eight-player roster. So when Denver Clyde missed Friday’s game against visiting Baltimore City Community College due to illness, the Skipjacks’ margin of error narrowed to non-existent.
Yet the Skipjacks, despite missing one of their leading scorers and rebounders, found a way to do what they’ve done all season push the ball and attack the defense. Chesapeake’s seven healthy players wore down BCCC’s 11-player roster, turning a 31-22 halftime lead into a 76-45 rout as the Skipjacks revved up their transition game after the break.
"When I found out Denver wouldn’t be able to play, I told them everybody had to step up and they answered the call," said Chesapeake head coach Damon Nichols, whose team opened the second half with a 24-10 run built on eight transition baskets. "They did everything that we preach every day in practice attack the defense, box out and run the floor."
Shantrel Oliver scored a game-high 26 points for Chesapeake (13-3 overall, 7-2 Maryland JuCo). Deja Acree (four assists, four steals) added 12 points and Ashleigh Jones (seven rebounds, three steals) chipped in 11, and each Skipjack scored at least five points.
"Without Denver, we were missing a lot of scoring," said Oliver, who also had six rebounds, three steals and three blocked shots. "We knew everybody had to step up and we all stepped up."
Katara Pressley had eight points while Rose Smith and Emon Heath each had seven points and seven rebounds. Jen Carr contributed five points and six rebounds as the Skipjacks improved to 4-0 at home.
Chesapeake raced out to a 12-4 advantage as Oliver scored half the points in the Skipjacks’ game-opening run. The Panthers (6-13, 3-4) pulled within 17-13 on Senteria Rehwick’s 3-pointer, but Chesapeake responded with six straight points on a run Oliver started and finished with jumpers as the Skipjacks opened up a 23-13 cushion.
Still, the Skipjacks couldn’t shake the Panthers until their second-half surge.
Oliver opened the second-half scoring with a transition layup and Smith turned an offensive rebound into a three-point play to give Chesapeake a 36-22 lead. The Skipjacks broke the game open with a 17-4 surge featuring five points from Ashleigh Jones and scoring from five different players as the lead grew to 55-32.
"We just tried to keep the same mindset," said Jones. "We knew what we had to do coming in here."
Shamera O’Neal (13 points) was the only Panther to hit double figures.
The Skipjacks were down to five healthy, eligible players by the final buzzer. Acree fouled out and the hard-nosed Smith was on the bench alternating an ice pack between her forehead and her shoulder.
"Rose got banged in her eye on a layup and got banged in the shoulder on a different play," explained Nichols. "Hats off to her she’s a tough kid. She was trying to talk her way back into the game."
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