Focus on Sports
Miracle on the Western Shore

Posted on Wednesday, January 24, 2007

ARNOLD – Fifty-three seconds isn´t a lot of time – but it seemed to last an eternity for the luckless Pioneers.

Chesapeake College erased a seven-point deficit in the final 53 seconds, rallying for an improbable 83-81 men´s basketball victory Monday night at Anne Arundel Community College. Terrance Wright tipped in a Davon Heath miss with 1.8 seconds remaining as the Skipjacks (10-7 overall, 6-3 Maryland JuCo) won for the sixth time in seven games.

"I´ve always believed it´s never over until you hear the final buzzer," said Wright. "That last 53 seconds, we went all-out on defense."

Chesapeake head coach John Mappas didn´t seem surprised to see his Skipjacks involved in another last-second drama.

"The last month all of our games have been crazy," said Mappas, whose team´s last five games have been decided by five points or less, including two overtime contests.

The Skipjacks trailed 81-74 before Hubert King´s basket with 53 seconds remaining started Chesapeake´s 9-0, game-ending run. Chesapeake´s pressing defense then forced a turnover, and Jimmy Mosser drained a quick three-pointer to pull the Skipjacks within 81-79 with 22 seconds remaining.

King then stole a lob pass as the Pioneers tried again to break Chesapeake´s press, and King drove in for a basket that tied the game, 81-81, with 12 seconds remaining. Anne Arundel proceeded to break Chesapeake´s press, but Heath came up with a steal in the corner and drove almost the length of the court for a layup attempt that was tipped by a defender. Wright, however, was in perfect position to tap in the miss for the winning points.

King and Mosser scored 21 points each for the Skipjacks. Heath added 12 and Kentrell Ricketts scored 11 as the Skipjacks exhibited the balanced offense that´s carried the team in the five games since point guard Preston Faulk sustained a knee injury.

"Preston was averaging 15 or 16 points a game, and Coach told us everyone would have to pick up the slack," said Wright.

Jim Davidson scored a game-high 36 points for the Pioneers (3-15, 0-8). Brandon Abney added 21 points, including 13 in the second half as Anne Arundel erased a 47-40 halftime deficit.

Mappas empathized with the Pioneers, who blew a golden opportunity for their first league win of the season.

"Those (Anne Arundel) kids played their tails off. They played great offensively all game long – just took us apart," said Mappas. "It didn´t seem like that kid (Davidson) missed a shot.

"Then in the last minute they kind of panicked," said Mappas. "I was hollering for our kids to foul them to stop the clock, but before we could they kept throwing the ball away."

While the Skipjacks are on a good roll, they will take a decided step up in competition for the next several weeks. Six of their last eight opponents have winning records, and the next five games are against teams that started this week with a combined 57-22 record.

"The next eight games are all going to be tough," said Mappas, whose team starts this ambitious stretch with Wednesday night´s 7 p.m. home game against reigning NJCAA Division II national champion Cecil Community College.

The Seahawks are 15-2 and ranked second in the nation in the latest NJCAA Division II poll. Cecil and CCBC-Catonsville are the only teams still undefeated in Maryland JuCo play.

"We´re going to have our hands full with Cecil," said Mappas.


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