Catonsville ends Skipjacks’ season in region quarters
Chesapeake College loses despite Lowery’s career-high 35 points
FREDERICK It’s hard to win a playoff game when your opponent drops in 62 second-half points.
Chesapeake College learned that lesson Friday afternoon, wasting Rob Lowery’s career-high 35 points as fifth-seeded Community College Baltimore County-Catonsville beat the fourth-seeded Skipjacks, 93-90, in an NJCAA Region XX Division II quarterfinal at Frederick Community College.
"Every time we came to a critical juncture of the game, they either knocked down a jump shot or converted from the foul line," said Chesapeake College head coach Dale Becraft after Catonsville made 34-of-44 free-throw attempts. "We just couldn’t quite get over the hump."
Lowery did everything he could to try to get the Skipjacks into Saturday’s semifinals, dealing six assists in addition to carrying the scoring load. Three other Skipjacks Joe Fletcher (14 points), Chris Brown (13) and Mike Nichols (10) also hit double figures, but Chesapeake (17-10) couldn’t get enough stops at the defensive end.
"The second half was pretty much a shootout," remarked Becraft.
The Skipjacks seemingly caught a break when an injured Randy Allen, the state’s ninth-leading scorer, failed to score a point for Catonsville after getting 24 in the Cardinals’ regular-season victory over Chesapeake. Catonsville overcame Allen’s lack of production Friday as Kevin Palmer led four Cardinals in double figures with 25 points.
"Some others guys stepped up for them," said Becraft. Chesapeake led, 33-31, at halftime, but Catonsville (14-15) took control in the second half. The Cardinals led by as many as 12 points in the waning minutes before a late Skipjack rally made things interesting.
Fletcher hit a pair of three-pointers in the final 10 seconds, his second one getting Chesapeake within 93-90 with 0.4 seconds remaining. The Skipjacks, however, didn’t even have enough time to foul one of the Cardinals to stop the clock.
"They never quit fighting, even down 12 points with three minutes left," said Becraft of his players. "I was proud of their efforts."
Fred Brown scored 19 points, Mike Carter added 17 and Dye Dsimore contributed 13 to join Palmer in double figures for Catonsville. The Cardinals advanced to a Saturday night semifinal against Cecil Community College, the top-ranked team in the country and the top seed in the regional tournament.
Chesapeake, which started the season 8-1 and was 10 games over .500 going into their regular-season finale, ended the year with three straight losses.
"When we got down to eight players, injuries and other things came up that just kept us from getting into a comfortable rotation," Becraft said of his team’s late-season slump. "It could have been a better season, but I think this was a good year."
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