ROCKVILLE – Coming off three consecutive losses, including a heartbreaker at Prince George Community College on Jan. 23, the Montgomery College men’s basketball team was looking to get back on track in a home contest against Cecil College.
The Seahawks, however, had other plans, as they dominated a majority of the game and beat the Raptors 71-54 on Feb. 2.
“It’s a tough loss,” said Montgomery College head coach Keith Byrd. “When you add probably about 9-to-10 new players to your program overall, and within that, you have a whole group of freshmen, it’s expected there’s going to be moments of lapse.”
The start to the game was rough for both teams, as MC held an ugly 4-2 lead for almost the opening five minutes of the first half. The Raptors had an early 10-8 advantage, with 13:22 left in the half. but shortly afterwards, Cecil began to take over the contest.
The Seahawks exploded to a 17-0 run, thanks to adequate shooting and rebounding from their main contributors: Cornell Corbin, Shylier Ringgold and Hassan Corbin. It was a hole that MC could not quite dig themselves out of as Cecil led 34-23 at halftime. Throughout the first half. Montgomery College’s shooting was abysmal; they shot 10-of-36 from the field, scored one 3-pointer and converted 2-of-8 from the free-throw line.
The Raptors battled back early on in the second half as guard Vince Rose and Walter Johnson High School alum Charlie Ail began connect their shots in the basket. Guard Paul Garcia scored seven of his 10 points in second half, including consecutive 3-pointers to cut the deficit to 43-40.
However, the momentum swung back in the favor of the Seahawks, as they dominated the rest of the way. Cecil pushed their advantage as high as 17 points with 6:52 left in the game. For the visitors, Ringgold and Corbin both finished the afternoon with 16 points each. Ringgold added 13 rebounds to his performance, registering a double-double in the win.
Cecil College pretty much had the advantage in every stats category, including points in the paint, points off turnovers, second-chance points, fast-break points and bench points. MC ended the game scoring 33.3 percent from the field, converting only four 3-pointers and shooting 37.5 percent from the free-throw line.
Rose and Ali finished with 13 points each –the highest scored by any Raptor. Rose and Ali also had 13 and 11 rebounds, respectively, resulting with each player earning a statistical double-double. Ali, who entered the game registering 10.9 points per game, impressed Byrd with his performance in a losing effort.
“Charlie has been consistent throughout the season,” said Byrd. “He’s been doing special things. You look up, and Charlie may have 10 rebounds or close to it, but he’s also put so many categories on the stat sheet, so Charlie’s been instrumental for this team this year.”
With their fourth straight loss, the Raptors now drop their record to 13-8 overall, and 8-5 in conference play.
“We’ve got to figure it out,” said Byrd. “This is my first time having four or three losses in a row, but we’re going to go back to the drawing board and figure out how we can fix some things.”