DCCC fends off Thaddeus Stevens in a nail-biter

By J.P. McClatchy

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Freshman Darius Robinson attempts a three pointer against Thaddeus Stevens Tech in the second half of their Nov.19 game at Widener. Photo by J.P. McClatchy

The DCCC men’s basketball team followed up their first win of the season in overtime with an 81- 76 home victory over Thaddeus Stevens Tech in a game that came down to the wire, despite an early lead, Nov. 19.

The Phantoms’ record improved to 2-2 on the young season and are undefeated in conference play so far.

Phantoms leading scorer sophomore Gemil Holbrook had another solid game with 29 points, which lead both teams. Holbrook has scored at least 20 points in three of the first four games, highlighted by a 35-point performance against the Community College of Philadelphia last week.

“He’s a shotmaker,” said Phantoms coach Zain Shaw. “I’m trying to get him to play both sides of the floor, but for the most part he brings a lot of energy.”

The Phantoms received key contributions from freshman Donald Hodges, who had a season-high 18 points, and freshman DeShawn Hinson, who added 15 points to the cause, including some important free throws down the line.

Backup point guard, sophmore Saleem Chrisholm made the most of increased playing time after Phantom’s third leading scorer, sophmore Sean Havink, left the game due to injury.

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Sophomore Gemil Holbrook lines up to shoot a free throw in the second half of their Nov. 19 game after being fouled on a layup against Thaddeus Stevens Tech. Photo by J.P. McClatchy

The Phantoms came out of the gate firing on all cylinders, leaning on Holbrook and Sean Havink on offense, and built a 17-point lead in the first half. Their defense held Thaddeus Stevens to 27 first half and went into halftime leading comfortably 44-27.

Thaddeus Stevens opened up the second half on a 7-2 run, taking advantage of a cold start from the Phantoms’ offense and started to slowly close the gap. The Phantoms responded by building their largest lead of game at 23 points; the game looked to be out of reach for the moment.

However, Thaddeus Stevens did not give up as the Phantoms watched their lead shrink minute by minute until Thaddeus Stevens cut the deficit to single-digits with six minutes and 11 seconds to go in the game. The Phantoms looked shellshocked after their strong defense in the first half became almost nonexistent in the second half.

“We just got a little lazy on defense in the second half and that’s our main topic of concern in practice,” said coach Shaw on his team’s defensive performance in the second half. “Nobody wins championships without being good on defense.”

Then, with 32 seconds left, Thaddeus Stevens found themselves within two points of the Phantoms. That’s when coach Shaw called a timeout so his team could regroup.

The timeout proved beneficial because that’s as close as Thaddeus Steven would come. The Phantoms were able to seal the game with free throws at the end to clinch an 81-76 win.

“Defense and trusting each other with the basketball,” said coach Shaw on looking ahead to their next game. “Emphasis on defense and playing together as a team. That’s my only focus.”

Contact J.P. McClatchy at communitarian@dccc.edu