Skipjacks use pressure to pummel PG
Clyde’s double-double helps Chesapeake stay perfect at home
WYE MILLS Chesapeake College has built its most successful women’s basketball season ever around its full-court pressure. The Skipjacks stayed true to their character in one of their most important games of the year.
"That’s what we do," said Chesapeake head coach Damon Nichols Saturday night after the Skipjacks used their diamond press to rout Prince George’s Community College, 77-55. "The kids want to run a pressure defense. That’s good when you have kids who want to be a pressure-defense team."
The Skipjacks’ full-court pressure caused PG plenty of problems in the game’s first 10 minutes, setting up 8-0 and 9-0 runs as Chesapeake (17-3 overall, 11-2 league) blew out to a 25-9 lead. Prince George’s (14-6, 9-4) mounted several comebacks, but the Skipjacks answered each with more pressure and points in transition.
"A lot of us went to scout them (PG) against Dundalk," said Chesapeake’s Ashleigh Jones, who had a team-high four steals to go along with her 16 points, five rebounds and four assists. "We saw they didn’t like it when people were up in their faces. We concentrated on being aggressive, keeping our hands up, getting deflections and starting the break."
Denver Clyde, who had a game-high 22 points and a team-high 10 rebounds, said the Skipjacks were intent on staying unbeaten at home (6-0) and improving their playoff position.
"We stepped it up," said Clyde, who also had four assists and three steals. "We came into the game all excited and we knew what we had to do."
Chesapeake, which finished its league season with six straight wins, assured itself no worse than a fourth-place finish in the Maryland Junior College Athletic Conference. That should gain the Skipjacks a first-round bye with 12 teams expected to play in the state championship tournament that begins next week.
Chesapeake, which never trailed, took the lead for good with an 8-0 run that broke a 6-6 tie. Jones scored six points during the run, which included four turnovers by the Owls.
Clyde had the first five points and Shantrel Oliver the final four in the 9-0 surge that pushed Chesapeake’s lead to 25-9.
"Our diamond press stopped them in the beginning," said Oliver, who had 16 points and four rebounds. "Our defense played pretty good tonight we just need to box out better next time."
The Owls regrouped after a timeout, answering with a 15-2 run to get back in the game. Four different Owls scored in the run, which included five points from Coneisha Smith and four each by Marisa Akins and Lucky Brown.
Chesapeake’s Jen Carr (10 points) stopped the run with a baseline jumper and then hit both ends of a one-and-one to start an 8-0 streak that rebuilt Chesapeake’s lead to 35-24 before PG’s Akins hit a driving layup to pull the Owls within nine at the break.
The Owls hung close for much of the second half, getting within 52-44 on Akins’ rebound basket with 8:20 remaining. Carr, however, answered with consecutive baseline jumpers the second one off a nice feed from Clyde and Clyde followed with a transition layup to take the lead back to 58-44.
"That’s her shot," Nichols said of Carr’s signature baseline jumper. "I tell her all the time ’Anything on the baseline take that shot.’ "
"Coach kept telling me to shoot," acknowledged Carr. "At first my shots weren’t falling, but eventually I got my form back."
One final run an 8-0 spurt that made it 66-48 and included two hoops from Oliver and one each by Jones and Clyde put the game away.
Akins led PG with 16 points. Teammate Danielle Durant joined her in double figures with 14.
The Skipjacks play a 7:30 p.m. non-conference game at Howard Community College Tuesday night in a tune-up for the state tournament.
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