Fords defeat Shore cagers in Centennial lid-lifter

CHESTERTOWN – Washington will be looking to halt a three-game losing streak and return to .500 when it travels to Swarthmore on Tuesday night for a Centennial Conference men’s basketball game.

That could be a tall order as Swarthmore (4-1) is projected, by the slimmest of margins, to top the 10-school league.

In a preseason poll of CC head coaches, defending conference champ Swarthmore garnered six first-place votes and 78 points.

Johns Hopkins (76 points) received the other four first-place votes.

Gettysburg (65) was projected to finish third, followed by Muhlenberg (54), Ursinus (49) and Franklin & Marshall (43) as the other playoff contenders. 

Haverford was picked seventh with 31 points.

Dickinson (28), McDaniel (14) and Washington (12) rounded out the voting. 

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that the Shoremen landed in the cellar as they won only two conference contests in 2022-23, and finished 3-21 overall.

But that was last year under a different coaching regime.

Corey Begly was hired in the off-season to head the program here and, just five games in, the 2-3 Shoremen are close to equaling last year’s win total.

Washington is coming off a 68-53 loss at Haverford on Nov. 21 in the Centennial Conference opener for both schools.

The Shoremen raced out to an 11-3 lead in the first seven minutes with Paul Rodolf dropping in six points and Kedrick Frink contributing the other five.

Haverford (3-2) closed to 11-10 as freshmen Logan Brown, Ali Kaan Bek and Gaven Marr sparked a 7-0 run.

With the home team trailing 18-14 with 7 minutes, 23 seconds remaining in the first half, Marr completed a rare four-point play by burying a 3-pointer while drawing a foul and making the free throw to level the score at 18-all.

He added another three in his own run of seven unanswered points to put the Fords out in front, 21-18.

Then, Frink asserted himself by scoring six of Washington’s next eight points to close out the half with the score tied at 26.

At the break, Frink led all scorers with 13 points. He finished with a game high of 23 points.

Washington shot 50% from the field in the first half, 12-of-24, while Haverford was 4-of-10 (40%) from outside the 3-point arc.

The teams essentially traded baskets in the opening five minutes of the second half, until a three from Gabe Franklin pushed the Fords out in front, 35-29, with 14 minutes and change remaining.

Haverford took its largest lead at 41-29 on a Franklin layup that punctuated a run of 15 unanswered points with 12:01 to play.

The Shoremen responded with a 9-2 run with consecutive 3-pointers from Ryan Schuh, Zack Skrocki and Skrocki again to shrink the deficit to 43-38 with 10:21 to play.

Marr knocked down a pair of threes to restore the Fords’ double-digit lead at 55-44 with 4:37 to go.

A Frink-led 7-2 Washington run brought Washington back to within six points, 57-51, with just over three minutes remaining

But with 1:41 on the clock, a Franklin 3-pointer was the catalyst to an 11-2 game-ending run that sealed the victory for Haverford.

Marr finished with 21 points, including an impressive 6-of-6 from outside the arc, in 30 minutes off the bench. He had 10 points by halftime.

Haverford’s Nicholas Stewart led all players with nine rebounds and six assists.

Frink, who also had six rebounds, led three Shoremen in double-digit scoring. Skrocki dropped in 12 points and Rodolf (six rebounds) contributed 10.

Washington will return to Finnegan Court in Chestertown on Saturday, Dec. 2 against conference rival Gettysburg. Tip-off is at 3 p.m.

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