WYE MILLS - With only eight active players, the Chesapeake women’s basketball team outnumbers just a handful of opponents this season.
“There are other teams that sometimes have six or seven,” Chesapeake coach Gwen Barnes said.
Regardless of having a relatively short bench, the Skipjack don’t have any trouble scoring points in bunches.
If they had a slogan, it would be “Bombs Away.”
The Skipjacks are shooting more three pointers than any season in Barnes’ five years with the program.
Chesapeake has fired up a whopping 451 three-point attempts and the Skipjacks are averaging 22 per game.
Sophomore guard/forward Emily Truitt is the ringleader for the long-range attack.
Truitt made 11 three-pointers in a 87-61 rout of the Community College of Baltimore County Catonsville on Dec. 12.
Five days later, Truitt sank the same number in a 89-49 triumph over CCBC.
She also hit 10 in a 83-58 conquest of Alleghany College of Maryland on Jan. 10.
“It feels great to hit one,” Truitt said. “It brings a spark of energy to the bench and myself.”
Barnes says her Skipjacks are shooting the ball from the perimeter as well, as they have all season.
“What is happening now is we are beginning to find our rhythm from the outside,” the coach explained.
That’s a good thing since the postseason is just around the corner.
Chesapeake has three more regular-season games before the three-day Maryland Junior College Athletic Conference Tournament starts Feb. 16 at Prince George’s Community College in Largo.
“I am very pleased with how well we are playing together,” said Barnes, whose team is 11-9. “Team chemistry is what is going to carry us. The overall goal is go out and play strong offensively and defensively. If we do that, the outcome should be positive for us.”
The Skipjacks will also participate in the Region XX Tournament at Cecil Community College in early March.
Barnes hopes for a rerun of last March when her team won the tournament with a pair of victories.
Chesapeake advanced onto the National Junior College Athletic Association championships for the third time in four years in Arizona, where the Skipjacks suffered back-to-back losses.
“On the national level, we didn’t win any games and that was disheartening for us,” Barnes said. “We had a very young team and we learned. We are looking to bounce back from those losses.”
Yet if Truitt continues her excellent long-range marksmanship, she could carry the SkipJacks to a playoff victory all by herself.
She ranks third in the MD JUCO in scoring, averaging 19.9 points per game.
Even though opponents’ game plan is to stop Truitt, that’s a tough task on many nights.
“Teams put a lot of pressure on her,” Barnes said. “Teams have played a box-in-one on her and have double-teamed her, but she is still able to get shots off. She loves that three-point shot, but at the same time, he also can play down low.”
Sophomore point Chantelle Gross is another weapon for the Skipjacks.
He can handle the ball well and shoot from the outside. She averages 17.2 points, 4.2 rebounds and 3.3 assists.
“She does a lot of great things for us and I think she is having a terrific season,” Barnes said.
Freshman guard Amunique Newell, sophomore guard/forward Natori Nesbit and sophomore center Reeva Jackson, roundout the starting five.
There’s not much depth beyond the starters with guards Claire Pritchett, Toni Chiarella and Chandni Taylor.
But that’s not a problem for Barnes. She gets the most out of her players.
“I keep them in top shape and mentally prepared,” Barnes said. “They work extremely hard in practice. I give them days off so their bodies can recoup. That’s how we do it.”