Mantra for Bay­hawk boys hoops: win now

The Avenue News - - FRONT PAGE - By BILL GATES [email protected]­pub.com

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.

PHOTO BY BILL GATES

Ch­e­sa­peake’s Ver­non Toney scores two of his game-high 14 points dur­ing the Bay­hawks’ vic­tory over Pat­ap­sco.

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