Skipjacks can’t complete comeback against PG
Chesapeake’s bid to host state tournament game takes a hit
By GREG REINBOLD
Courtesy of The Star Democrat
WYE MILLS The Chesapeake College men’s basketball team was within one last-second 3-point attempt by sophomore guard Rocky Harris from forcing overtime Saturday against Prince George’s Community College, despite trailing the Owls for nearly the entire game.
Harris’ trey at the buzzer didn’t fall, and the Skipjacks lost at home for just the second time this season, their four-game winning streak snapped by an 81-78 final in front of a near-capacity crowd.
"I think that’s the biggest crowd we’ve had since we’ve been here and they helped to do what they needed to do to lift us," Chesapeake head coach Joel Dearring said. "We’re sorry we didn’t complete the deal, but if they keep coming out, we will."
The loss pushed the Skipjacks (13-9 overall, 7-7 Maryland JuCo) toward the bottom of the crowded race for home-court advantage in the state tournament, while PG improved to 17-8, 10-6.
"This game was huge for us," Owls head coach Xavier Joyner said. "It gives us back-to-back years of winning 10 games in this conference, which is a very hard conference, but this game was very pivotal because if they won I think they could have potentially moved up as high as four or five and we would have moved to eight, possibly."
Harris and freshman center Kevin Bonsu shared the Skipjacks’ team-lead with 21 points apiece, Harris connecting on three 3-pointers over the last 4 minutes, 17 seconds of the first half and Bonsu scoring 15 in the first 13:30 of the second half.
"Rocky is a gamer," Dearring said. "He’s going to come and play, he’s going to give his all and he’s only going to get better. He’s a leader and he did tonight the things that we asked.
"Nobody on the team is perfect by any means, but if you had to give a star for one of the people who played tonight, Bonsu definitely would get one and so would Rocky," added Dearring.
Josiah Woodruff led Prince George’s with 24 points, while David Golladay and NieRonn Miles reached double figures with 14 and 10, respectively. Gamari Mayfield (12 points) and Chadwick Church (11) joined Harris and Bonsu in double digits for the Skipjacks.
Chesapeake led for only 39 seconds in the first half as the Owls took a 45-38 edge into intermission, but the Skipjacks opened the second half with an 18-6 run to go ahead 56-51 with 13:29 to play behind Bonsu’s strong post play.
"He’s a very good low-post player and our intent starting out the game was to try to get in front of him every time he was on the block," Joyner said of the Skipjacks’ 6-foot-4, 280-pound post presence. "Our guys got a little lazy in the second half and started letting him catch it. He’s very good at going to the rim on that, very nice touch around the basket. "What we started to do is when he caught it we started to double him a little bit and he got a little fatigued and I saw Coach (Dearring) had to pull him out of the game," added Joyner. "That helped us. That might have been the little small edge that helped us.""
Prince George’s took just a few possessions to regain the lead, generating turnovers the next four times Chesapeake had the ball.
"We had the ball with the lead and made mistakes," Dearring said. "That was us, it wasn’t them. If you do what you’re supposed to do when you’re supposed to do it then you take that factor out of things."
Another factor that helped the Owls in the tight contest was their success from the free-throw line. Prince George’s made all 16 of its first-half foul shots and finished the game 19-for-22 from the stripe. The Skipjacks missed four free throws in the first half alone and were 11-for-17 for the game.
The Skipjacks have two games remaining to improve their state tournament seeding. They travel to CCBC-Catonsville on Wednesday and host Frederick Community College on Friday.
"The last two games are important for us if we’re going to clinch home-court," Dearring said.
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