Athletics News

Women's Basketball

Skipjack women follow up title by routing Cecil
Clyde, Acree pace state champions to their 11th consecutive victory

WYE MILLS – The Skipjacks certainly played like champions in their first game since winning the state women’s basketball tournament.

Chesapeake College, which claimed the Maryland Junior College Athletic Conference tournament title over the weekend, overwhelmed visiting Cecil College, 75-34, Wednesday night. The Skipjacks (22-3) raced to a 39-17 halftime lead against a Cecil squad that actually led at the half when the teams played in last week’s state quarterfinals.

Denver Clyde (seven rebounds, five assists) scored a game-high 23 points while Deja Acree added 17 points with eight rebounds and eight assists to pace the Skipjacks.

"Our chemistry is really strong now," said Acree, who was honored along with fellow sophomores Jen Carr and Ashleigh Jones at halftime. "We have so much respect for each other on the court."

"My freshmen knew this was Sophomore Night," observed Chesapeake head coach Damon Nichols. "They wanted to let the sophomores know how much they care for them. Everybody came out and played hard tonight – I mean everybody."

"We knew what we had to do," added Carr, who had two points and four rebounds. "We couldn’t take any team lightly just because we won the state tournament."

Jones, MVP of the state tournament, posted a double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds while dishing out six assists. She said she knew the Skipjacks were playing well when Nichols had no halftime recommendations for his team.

"At halftime, Coach always says what we need to do in the second half," said Jones. "For the first time he came in and just said, ’You’re doing great; keep it up.’ "

Rose Smith (five points) contributed nine rebounds and a team-high three blocked shots, and Shantrel Oliver (five rebounds, four steals) had seven first-half points before missing much of the second half with a sprained ankle.

Katara Pressley and Emon Heath, who played limited minutes much of the season, made good use of extended playing time. Pressley had nine points and four rebounds while Heath (one point) pulled down six rebounds and played well defensively.

Cecil standout Brianna Thomas scored a team-high 18 points, but no other Seahawk reached double figures.

"Cecil’s not a bad team," said Nichols, noting how tough the Seahawks played Chesapeake in the first half of last week’s tournament contest. "They have one of the fast guards in the state (Thomas). We knew we had to be ready to play."

Chesapeake actually started slowly, falling behind 3-0 before Clyde scored nine points in an 11-2 run that put the Skipjacks ahead to stay. Clyde had 15 at the half while Jones and Oliver combined for 16 first-half points to pace Chesapeake.

Both Wednesday’s game against Cecil (12-13) and next Thursday’s contest against visiting Potomac State College count in the region standings. The Skipjacks are hoping to be the top seed in the NJCAA Division II Region XX tournament, which will take place March 9-11 at Cecil College.

"This was an important game for us to keep us at the top (of the region standings)," said Nichols.

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