Fletcher shoots Skipjacks past Harford
Chesapeake earns 17th win despite struggling offensively
BEL AIR Joe Fletcher came through when the Skipjacks needed him most.
Fletcher scored 19 of his team-high 21 points in the second half, sparking Chesapeake College to a 71-66 men’s basketball victory Wednesday night over host Harford Community College. Fletcher’s big second half helped the Skipjacks to their third straight win on a night when they struggled offensively almost from the start.
"My teammates needed me to knock some shots down, so I knocked some down," said Fletcher, whose second-half performance helped the Skipjacks break away from a 29-29 halftime tie. "The second half I was really feeling it."
Chesapeake head coach Dale Becraft praised the way Fletcher carried the offense for long stretches of the second half.
"We needed an offensive lift from someone and Joe stepped up," said Becraft, whose team improved to 17-7 overall and 9-7 in the Maryland Junior College Athletic Conference.
While the win was Chesapeake’s third in three tries against Harford this season, Becraft noted the Owls (10-14, 6-10) are known for being tough to beat at home.
"They always play hard here and give people fits. They beat Allegany here earlier this season," said Becraft, whose Skipjacks lost at home to Allegany by 36 points. "So it was just another grinder for us. In this league, it’s win and get out of town."
Chesapeake’s Rob Lowery, held scoreless for more than 25 minutes to start the contest, finished strong with 20 points and a team-high seven assists. Jamarl Glen added 13 points before fouling out and Chris Brown scored nine points, eight of them in the first 15 minutes.
Becraft said the victory assured Chesapeake no worse than an eighth-place finish in the conference standings, which means the Skipjacks will host a first-round game Tuesday night in the state tournament. A win in Friday night’s regular-season finale at Howard Community College would lock up the seventh seed.
Sam Ellgwe scored a game-high 22 points for Harford, while teammates Brian Selby and Richard Johnson added 15 each.
Harford built a 44-39 advantage before Fletcher led the Skipjacks on an 8-0 run that put Chesapeake ahead to stay. He started the run with a three-pointer and ended it with a banked jumper that gave the Skipjacks a 47-44 advantage.
Fletcher, who scored 17 of Chesapeake’s first 29 second-half points, later hit a three-pointer that stretched the Skipjacks’ lead to 58-50.
Chesapeake still led by eight points, 66-58, with just over two minutes left, but the Owls refused to go away. Four Skipjack turnovers in the final three minutes kept things interesting, and the Owls pulled within 69-66 on a Ryan Devreux free throw with 26.4 seconds remaining.
Chesapeake’s Mike Nichols then missed a pair of free throws, and Selby had an open look at a three-pointer that could have tied the game with 10 seconds remaining. The shot missed, however, and Lowery scored on an ensuing breakaway to lock up the win.
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