COLLEGE PARK — When a player gets hot, the wave of momentum tends to last for days on end and Jordan Sibert was one such example in College Park’s (15-10) 123-119 victory over the Raptors 905 (9-13) Sunday evening.
Sibert was scoring at will early and led to the rest of the team catching fire in response but Sibert’s 35 piloted the team to the 123-119 victory.
“Credit to my teammates,” Sibert said. “Just being able to find me. I thank God every day for allowing me to be healthy and just continue to play the game I love. To have great teammates who look for me. Without them, I don’t get that.”
A season-high record of four straight wins for the Skyhawks (15-10) was not easy.
Starting out a game in the first quarter for the College Park Skyhawks was impressive but the way the whole game unfolded was not pretty. Impressive shooting from the entire lineup was the key to the first quarter.
College Park was an impressive 66.7 percent and the rebounding was just as good with 12 total rebounds. It lent a bit to their work on the floor as College Park recovered 11 different defensive rebounds. But that wasn’t all.
Facilitating the offense early was Cat Barber with four total assists. When the quarter ended, College Park dropped 35 total points. However, Toronto 905 wasn’t going to go anywhere quietly.
Turnovers weren’t an issue for the Skyhawks much in the first quarter, but it was going to be an issue going forward.
The 18-points Toronto put up in the first quarter was doubled as the Skyhawks were cold from deep to around the hoop. However, the turnovers began to creep back into the Skyhawks offense. 10 total turnovers for the Skyhawks only aided their opponents’ efforts at a comeback.
“It’s been the last two games,” Skyhawks head coach Noel Gillespie said. “It’s been the thing we’ve addressed against Windy City they had 33 points off turnovers. Today they had 44. It’s a glaring problem. We were fortunate enough to get two wins. Valuing the basketball is going to be huge. It’s an issue we’re going to have to clean up.”
But things weren’t all bleak as the Skyhawks held the 57-50 lead into halftime. The shooting returned in the third quarter for College Park and in a big way. It all began with Armoni Brooks drilling his three-point tries.
Considering Brooks was flawless with 4-of-4 shooting for 11 points in the third opened the door for Sibert to go to work as well. Sibert knocked down 16 points for the Skyhawks.
The deep ball for Brooks just developed over time especially considering many forces have confidence in him.
“My teammates having confidence in me and the coaching staff having confidence in me,” Brooks said. “Being able to shoot is a really important thing for this league and just being able to do it to help the team is really good.”
When Toronto tied the game up with a little over three minutes left in the quarter, the Skyhawks finally began to click off good shots. Part of it was because Gillespie noticed that the Raptors 905 was running a zone defense. This left dominant inside shooters like Barber out to dry but allowed the team to focus on the deep shooting ability they’ve held close.
Brooks was the driving force of it all. The first two Skyhawks makes came off his hot hand alone. But in Skyhawks fashion, the scoring began to come apart and the door opened for the Raptors. However solid shooting from the charity stripe for Brooks and Tahjere McCall ultimately helped seal the victory.
Leading the way for the Skyhawks was Sibert who finished with 35 points. Brooks chipped in 24 in the victory as Marcus Derrickson had a silent night with 16. Tahj McCall came up with a double-double as he picked up 10 rebounds and 14 points. Kenny Gabriel finished with 13 and Cat Barber rounded out the double-digit scorers with 12.
“For Jordan coming off back-to-back games, he’s got the hand,” Gillespie said. “Last game against Windy City he got hurt towards the end, fortunately, he recovered nicely. 905 zoned us so playing Jordan and Armoni together having them be on the floor against that zone really helped.”