Skipjacks prep for playoffs, win seventh straight
Chesapeake gains second seed in next week’s state tournament
COLUMBIA The Skipjacks prepped for the playoffs with their seventh straight win, recording a 72-45 women’s basketball victory Tuesday night over host Howard Community College.
Chesapeake College took command of the contest early, bolting to a 33-14 halftime lead as the Skipjacks played effectively in both their diamond trap and man-to-man defenses.
"We came out playing really good defense," said Shantrel Oliver, who had 15 of her game-high 24 points in the first half. "This was a good win. It’s going to keep our confidence up as we go forward."
"Usually we use our pressure defense and then fall back into a zone," noted Chesapeake head coach Damon Nichols. "Tonight (Tuesday) we went more with our man-to-man with just a little bit of zone. We played well defensively."
While the Howard game was a non-conference contest Chesapeake beat the Dragons (2-19 overall, 1-11 league) earlier this season in the game that counts in the league standings two other Tuesday night games had significant conference and playoff implications.
Montgomery College Rockville (21-4, 12-0) clinched the Maryland Junior College Athletic Conference regular-season title and the top seed in the state tournament with a 67-49 win over Cecil College (11-11, 8-5). Hagerstown Community College (22-3, 10-3) handed Allegany College (15-6, 7-2) a 58-56 overtime loss that allowed Chesapeake (18-3, 11-2) to clinch second place in the conference and the second seed in the state tournament.
Denver Clyde scored all 14 of her points in the second half for Chesapeake and teammate Ashleigh Jones contributed 11 points and a team-high eight rebounds. Rose Smith chipped in eight points and Deja Acree filled her stat sheet with five points, five assists, six rebounds, and seven steals.
The Skipjacks, who will have a first-round bye in the state tournament, will play next Thursday against the seventh seed in a quarterfinal matchup. The semifinals will be next Saturday with the state championship game scheduled for Sunday, February 19. All tournament games starting with the quarterfinals will take place at Frederick Community College.
Nichols said the Skipjacks will make good use of their nine-day break.
"We’re going to be conditioning hard and be ready for next week," he said.
Notes: Chesapeake’s seven-game winning streak is the second-longest run for the Skipjacks this season. They opened the season with eight straight wins.
Denver Clyde is currently the sixth-leading scorer in Maryland JuCo at 16.1 points per game, ninth in blocks (1.3 per game) and 10th in 3-point field-goal percentage (33 percent). Deja Acree is eighth in assists (4.4 per game) while Ashleigh Jones (fourth, 3.8) and Acree (ninth, 3.4) are both in the state’s top 10 in steals per game.
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