Catamounts top Chesapeake men in overtime
PSC seeded fifth, Skipjacks sixth in DII Region XX tournament
KEYSER, W. Va. Carlton Johnson isn’t a one-man basketball team, but it certainly seemed that way down the stretch Saturday night.
Johnson scored Potomac State College’s final 16 points, including all 10 in overtime, as the Catamounts (16-11) edged visiting Chesapeake College, 88-86. Johnson’s game-winning basket, on a drive down the middle of the lane, bounced on the rim a couple of times before falling in at the final buzzer to break an 86-86 tie.
"We had our opportunities to win the game," said Chesapeake head coach Joel Dearring, whose team missed four free throws in the final 100 seconds, including the front end of three one-and-ones.
Johnson’s brilliant performance overcame a balanced effort by the Skipjacks (17-11) after a four-hour bus trip. Kevin Bonsu posted a double-double (23 points, 10 rebounds) and Akanni Salako (14 points, nine rebounds) fell one board short of joining him. Gamari Mayfield (15 points, seven rebounds), Rocky Harris (12 points, two steals), and Sam Sanders (10 points) also reached double digits for Chesapeake.
The short-handed Skipjacks Delfawn Worrells didn’t play in the second half after suffering a first-half injury and Chad Church didn’t make the trip nearly overcame a 50-43 halftime deficit to pick up a Region XX road win. In the end, however, Johnson’s big night when combined with a 55-40 Catamounts advantage on the boards that included 25 offensive rebounds was just enough to hand the Skipjacks only their third loss in their last 11 games.
The win gave Potomac State the fifth seed in this week’s NJCAA Division II Region XX tournament, which will be played at Hagerstown Community College, and dropped Chesapeake to the sixth seed. As a result, the Skipjacks will have to play third-seeded Community College of Beaver County ranked 17th in the country with a 24-5 record while the Catamounts get fourth-seeded College of Southern Maryland (16-11).
Cecil College, the Maryland Junior College Athletic Conference regular-season and tournament runner-up to Division I Hagerstown, is the tournament’s top seed. Cecil (24-5) had an 18-game winning streak snapped by Hagerstown in the state tournament title game. The Seahawks are 0-3 this season against Hagerstown and 24-2 against everyone else on their schedule.
If Chesapeake beats Beaver, the Skipjacks would play the winner of Friday’s quarterfinal between second-seeded Baltimore City Community College (20-10) and seventh-seeded Garrett College (13-14) in Saturday’s 5 p.m. semifinal.
While the Skipjacks would have to upset three higher-seeded teams to win the region title and the accompanying national tournament berth, Dearring said his team is ready for the challenge.
"The Magic Number is now three three wins gets us to the Big Dance," said Dearring.
Notes: Chesapeake College’s state championship women’s basketball team hosts Potomac State Thursday night at 6 p.m. in the Skipjacks’ final tune-up before the women’s NJCAA Division II Region XX tournament, which will take place March 9-11 at Cecil College. The Skipjacks (22-3) will be trying to complete a perfect 8-0 home season, extend their own school record for victories in a season, and potentially lock down the top seed in the regional tournament.
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