Focus on Sports
Skipjacks turn back Nassau CC, 74-71

Posted on Tuesday, January 08, 2008

WYE MILLS – The Skipjacks were fortunate enough to both learn a lesson and earn a win Monday afternoon against visiting Nassau (N.Y.) Community College.

Chesapeake College frittered away a 16-point, second-half cushion, with the Lions taking their only lead thanks to an 8-0 run climaxed by John Dabney´s jumper from the corner with 1:05 remaining. The Skipjacks, however, reclaimed the lead on a Barry Bratten put-back and iced a 74-71 men´s basketball victory as Aubin Reeves came up with a late steal and two free throws.

"We didn´t stay focused," said Andrew Lee, who led the way for the Skipjacks (11-2) with 17 points, 16 rebounds, three assists and three drawn charges. "We blew a lead when there was no reason for it. We´ve got to play with more effort and more focus."

Chesapeake head coach John Mappas agreed with Lee´s assessment.

"We´re not in shape and we have too many unfocused players," said Mappas, whose team was playing its first game with a seven-player roster after losing four players to academic ineligibility. "We´ve just got to get focused."

Chesapeake looked focused in the first half, cruising to a 48-33 halftime lead as Ty Newman, Lee, and Terrance Wright combined for 35 points. Wright (12 points) scored the final five points of the first half, including a 3-pointer right before the buzzer.

The Lions (9-7) stayed in the game thanks to the outside shooting of Dabney and Shawn Bassarath, who combined for six 3-pointers in the first half.

The Skipjacks took their biggest lead (62-46) on a Wright layup with 13:37 remaining. Nassau, however, responded with a 17-3 run to pull within 65-63 as Rodney Callwood (15 points) scored on three inside shots, including a dramatic slam.

Lee stopped the run by hitting the second of two free throws. Aubin Reeves (11 points, seven rebounds, four assists) then fed Newman (team-high 22 points) for a transition layup and scored himself on another fast break as the Skipjacks rebuilt their lead to 70-63.

Nassau made one final charge, with Dabney (team-high 22 points) leading the way on the 8-0 run that gave the Lions their only lead of the game.

Dabney hit a three-pointer and the second of two free throws to pull the Lions within 70-67, and Lawrence Williams sank a pair of free throws with 1:43 remaining to get Nassau within a point. After Newman missed two free throws, Dabney spotted up from the corner and nailed the jumper that gave the Lions a 71-70 lead.

The Skipjacks looked to retake the lead by going inside to Lee, but he missed the shot. Bratten, however, was there for the rebound and scored with 45.4 seconds remaining to give the Skipjacks a 72-71 lead.

"I just went up for the ball and put it back up strong," said Bratten, who finished with eight points, six rebounds, and four assists.

Chesapeake then stopped the Lions on two straight possessions, the last time on an Aubin Reeves block and steal as Dabney tried to go up for a shot. Dabney fouled Reeves with 1.9 seconds remaining and Reeves sank both free throws.

The Lions had a chance to force overtime, but Scott Draughon´s desperation shot from three-quarters court didn´t even come close to the mark.

Bassarath (11 points) and Andre Smikle (10 points) joined Dabney and Callwood in double figures for the Lions.

While the Skipjacks continued their most successful start in years, players indicated they need to learn a lesson from the game.

"We have to play more as a team," said Preston Faulk.

"We´ve just got to go hard at practice and get in the best shape we can," added Reeves. "We also have to play smart. We can´t afford to have people in foul trouble."


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