Focus on Sports
Skipjacks rally again, claim another region crown
Tournament MVP Clyde scores game-high 24 to help subdue Dundalk
Monday, March 04, 2013
FREDERICK Between the illnesses and injuries, the coughing and the limping, they resembled a hospital ward as much as a basketball team. At the end, however, they were once again posing with a nice trophy and anticipating another national tournament appearance.
Top-seeded Chesapeake College overcame a halftime deficit for the second consecutive day and defeated second-seeded CCBC-Dundalk, 85-76, Sunday afternoon to successfully defend its NJCAA Division II Region XX women’s basketball championship. Tournament MVP Denver Clyde scored a game-high 24 points and the Skipjacks (22-1) knocked down 28-of-35 free throws to qualify for the NJCAA Division II national tournament March 19-23 in East Peoria, Ill.
"We had some people sick, we had some people hurting, but we just had to push through it," said Chesapeake point guard Brittany Taylor, who had nine points and eight assists playing on an ankle sprain incurred two weeks ago in the state title game.
"We’ve had people sick the whole week. Even I was sick yesterday," said Chesapeake head coach Damon Nichols, whose team finished seventh in last year’s national tournament. "I take my hat off to them. They fought through it all to win."
Clyde, who had 11 rebounds, scored 15 second-half points, possibly none more important than her 3-pointer from the left wing with 1:29 remaining. That shot, which came with a Dundalk defender draped on her, gave Chesapeake an 81-76 lead and stopped the Lions’ final comeback attempt.
"I knew as soon as I let it out of my hands it was going in," said Clyde, who had done most of her offensive damage to that point down low.
"I told her (Clyde) if she felt it, go for it," said Nichols. "That’s Denver Clyde. You don’t tell her not to take it if she feels the shot. You’ve got to be willing to live or die with that."
Dundalk head coach Robert Long said the difference in the title game was, "Denver Clyde period."
"It’s not about defense at that point it’s about a great player rising above the defense and doing her thing," added Long.
While Clyde was outstanding, she had plenty of help. Dejhonae Cannady, who joined Clyde in representing Chesapeake on the all-tournament team, had 18 points and seven rebounds. Sydney Small scored 18 points coming off the bench, including 15 in the second half as she hit all nine of her second-half foul shots on the way to a 10-for-11 effort from the line.
The Skipjacks, who survived an early 10-0 Dundalk run to trail only 34-32 at the half, took the lead for good with an 11-3 spurt that erased a 51-49 deficit.
Najah Chambers split two free throws to get Chesapeake within a point and Small sank a pair of foul shots to put the Skipjacks in front to stay, 52-51, with 13:32 remaining. Clyde scored six points during the spurt on a baseline jumper and two layups while scoring the final four points of the run as Chesapeake built a 60-54 cushion.
The Skipjacks stretched their lead to eight on three separate occasions before Dundalk made one final push, getting within 78-76 on Lindsay Bradford’s loose-ball lay-in with less than two minutes remaining. That set the stage for Clyde’s trey from the wing that put the dagger in Dundalk’s title hopes.
"It’s my second year. That’s what I’m supposed to do," said Clyde, who was also MVP of last year’s region tournament and this year’s state tourney. "I wouldn’t be able to do it without my teammates."
While Clyde, Cannady and Small were the only Skipjacks in double figures, there were a lot of other contributors. Chambers matched Taylor’s nine points, Rose Smith added four, and Katara Pressley scored three for the Skipjacks.
Bradford and Carissa Williams, who represented Dundalk on the all-tournament team, had 19 and 16 points, respectively, to lead Dundalk (19-9). TroiQuay Malloy (15 points), Tiffany Evans (13) and Sheonta Camphor (11) were also double-figure scorers for the balanced Lions.
Notes: Hagerstown’s Katie Sprecher and Frederick’s Jasmine Walker were the other all-tournament selections. . .
Montgomery College won the NJCAA Division III Region XX and District G championships over the last two weekends to qualify for the Division III national tournament. Harford Community College, which lost to Chesapeake in the state title game, hosts a Division I national qualifier this coming weekend.
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