by Tom Utescher
For Chestnut Hill College sports fans, the new month didn’t get off to a good start, as both the men’s and women’s basketball teams came up short in a Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference doubleheader last Saturday.
The female Griffins rallied from a 16-point shortfall in the middle of the second half to trail visiting Dominican College by a single point in the last 10 seconds, but the Lady Chargers hung on to win, 65-62. The CHC men did not remain as close for as long, but they were only down 81-77 with a little over three minutes left. After that, though, Dominican drew away to chalk up a 92-79 victory.
Unfortunately, unsuccessful outcomes last weekend weren’t the only things that the two CHC ballclubs had in common. After Saturday’s setbacks the men’s and women’s squads owned unenviable identical records, both at 4-8 within the conference, and 6-13 overall.
Domicican, which is located in Orangeburg, N.Y. and belongs to the CACC’s Northern Division, saw its men’s team improve to 9-3, 13-6, while the ladies elevated their record to 5-7, 7-12.
The two Chestnut Hill teams arrived at their win/loss figures by somewhat different routes. After a 2-12 start to the season that included losses in all seven conference games, the women had won four straight games leading up to last Saturday, all against CACC rivals. After beginning 1-8, the Griffin men regrouped and took five of their next seven contests, but they’ve now lost three games in a row.
In the first 15 minutes on Saturday, the CHC women gained five-point leads three times, twice on three-pointers by junior Olivia Gorczynski, and once on a steal and breakaway by sophomore Brittany McDonough. They were up 22-17 with under six minutes remaining in the first half, but the Chargers accounted for seven of the last eight points before the break, inching into a 24-23 lead.
Senior forward Annie Farrow and junior guard Tenisha Townsend-Mobley helped the hosts tie the game at 27-all early in the second half, then Dominican used a good balance of inside and outside shooting to open up a 51-35 lead with a little over 11 minutes left to play.
Over the next four minutes Farrow hit two lay-ups and executed two flawless one-and-ones at the foul line, powering a 12-2 surge for the home team as the defense limited the Chargers to a pair of free throws. That closed up the score to 53-47, and it was still a six point game when CHC called time-out with 1:53 remaining, with the tally now at 61-55.
McDonough looped into the lane for a driving lay-up and at the other end senior center Aimee Bouie blocked a shot by Dominican’s Deja Gabbidon. After Bouie scored a lay-up of her own and added a free throw on the play, the Chargers recouped two points from the foul line, but with 16 ticks to go Farrow received a pass inside and converted, making it a 62-63 contest.
The visitors turned the ball over with a walk, but the Griffins also came up empty on their next possession, missing a jumper from near the free throw line. Dominican’s K.C. Jentzen, a senior forward, rebounded that miss and drew a foul, then sank both shots on a one-and-one with 4.6 seconds showing. The three-point margin held up as a desperation shot by Chestnut Hill failed to find the basket.
Jentzen and CHC’s Farrow shared game-high scoring honors with 20 points apiece, and each led her team in rebounds, with 13 and eight boards, respectively. Townsend-Mobley (five rebounds, two steals) was the only other Griffin in double-digits, with 16 points, but Bouie (six rebounds) was close, with nine. Dominican received 11 points from Gabbidon and 13 from Lashonda Hathorne.
Guard Taylor Trevisan led the Griffins early in the men’s game, reaching nine points, personally, when he netted a three-pointer from the right wing that gave CHC a 27-20 lead 11 minutes into the contest. Four minutes later the Chargers pulled even at 32-all, and they continued on to lead 44-41 at the intermission.
The Griffins clawed back into a 54-51 lead over the first five minutes of the trailing half. The Chargers regained the advantage with a relatively modest 7-0 run, but they would be able to maintain the lead the rest of the game.
Midway through the half the gap was at six points, and over the next five minutes Walck came on strong to keep the hosts within striking distance of the New York club. Going six-for-six at the foul line, he also scored one lay-up in the set offense and another in transition, and with three minutes left freshman Billy Cassidy’s second three-pointer of the afternoon got the Griffins within four points of the leaders, 81-77.
The locals never got over the hump, partly because they had trouble stopping Dominican senior forward Justin Turner without fouling him. Turner’s team-high 22 points encompassed seven field goals (all from the paint) and eight-for-11 shooting from the charity stripe. There was a large discrepancy in field goal accuracy between the teams, with the Chargers making 62 percent of their attempts, while the Griffins came in just over 40.
After the Chargers saw their lead dwindle to four points, they steadied themselves with a lay-up by Nick Smith and three free throws by Jonathan Brown, both forwards. The Griffins never got as close again, and instead Dominican drove the margin into double figures.
CHC’s Walck certainly did his part, with a game-high 24 points, while Trevisan and freshman Carson Murphy each pulled six rebounds and scored 17 and 12 points, respectively. Junior center Seamus Radtke gathered in a game-high nine rebounds and deposited five points.
Following Turner on the Dominican scoresheet were Justin Ringen, with 15 points, Smith, with 14, and Khaleev Ginyard, with 13.