Mantra for Bayhawk boys hoops: win now
There’s a sense of urgency around the Chesapeake boys basketball team this season. A feeling this is the season the Bayhawks must make a dep playoff run.
One reason: there are 10 seniors on the Chesapeake roster this season. The other: next season, the Bayhawks find themselves in the Class 2A North Region with Dunbar and Milford Mill.
“We also have seven returning players from last season,” Chesapeake coach Kevin Solomon Sr. said. “It puts a lot of stress on this season. It’s ‘empty the cupboard’ time.”
So far, so good. The Bayhawks have cruised to a 3-0 start, winning at Patapsco in the season opener 54-37; at Carver A&T on Thursday 7333; and defeating Sparrows Point in the home opener on Monday 75-35.
Every win is important, because the Bayhawks want home-court advantage in the regional playoffs. Chesapeake lost at Pikesville in last season’s playoffs; they host the Panthers on Friday at 7 p.m.
The schedule continues to get tough after Chesapeake returns from the holiday break: Perry Hal, then at Franklin, Randallstown and Kenwood.
“We’ve got to win those games to get home-court advantage in the playoffs,” Solomon Sr. said. “We want to bring the toughest opponents to our hoe this year in the playoffs.”
In the season-opener at Patapsco, it took over two-anda-half quarters for the Bayhawks to finally shake the undermanned Patriots.
The first half ended with Chesapeake leading 2119, and it was still only 2723, Chesapeake, midway through the third quarter.
That’s when a defensive adjustment Chesapeake made at halftime began to have an impact. The Bayhawks blanked the Patriots over the final 4:40 of the quarter to extend their lead to 36-23.
Chesapeake started the game in a 1-3-1 zone, then switched to a man-to-man defense.
“One of my players said [Patapsco] couldn’t dribble, so we went man-to-man,” Solomon Sr. said. “They killed us, so in the second half we went back to the 1-3-1 and a 2-2-1 zone, and shut them down.”
Lakeeb Hughes went four-for-four from the foul line and Vernon Toney had a long jumper and a threepointer during the Bayhawks’ 9-0 run to end the third quarter.
Patapsco managed to stay within striking distance, trailing 40-32 with 4:18 remaining in the game. An 11-0 Bayhawk run over the next four minutes decided the game.
Kevin Solomon Jr. started the Chesapeake surge by sinking both ends of a oneand-one, and Cam Carter scored on a layup.
Jamel Brown scored, then Toney hit both ends of a oneand-one.
Tony finished the game with 14 points. Damien Coleman scored 12 pooints and Eric Gilyard added 10 points.
Chesapeake attempted a lot of three-pointers, but only connected on two.
“We want to shoot three’s,” Solomon Sr. said. “We have good three-point shooters, but only one big man.
“We get lazy at times [such as when Patapsco rallied from seven points down to take a 19-17 lead late in the first half]. We need to make them understand how important every point is. That, and we need to work on rebounding.”
Kenwood (4-2) has won four straight after losing to Dundalk last week.
The Bluebirds defeated visiting Sparrows Point on Dec. 12, won at Owings Mills 69-62 on Friday and defeated visiting Loch Raven on Monday 73-65.
Kenwood was to host Hereford on Friday in their last game before the break.
Eastern Tech (0-3) fell at Northeast on Monday 58-35, and lost at Loch Raven 58-46 on Dec. 12.
The Mavericks were to host Carver A&T on Wednesday in their last game before the break.
Chesapeake’s Vernon Toney scores two of his game-high 14 points during the Bayhawks’ victory over Patapsco.