Wardell Chambers and his Anne Arundel Community College teammates had been waiting a long time for this moment.
Sixty-three days, to be exact.
The Pioneers still were smarting from a four-point defeat to Essex Community College when the two teams met again yesterday afternoon.But time, and an ensuing 96-64 victory, heal all wounds.
"We've been counting down the days," Chambers said afterward, removing his sweat-soaked jersey and stretching out on a table in the trainer's room.
"Today, we were counting the hours."
Sunday night, the multitalented forward was dreaming about the Knights' Jerry Dixon, who scored 27 points in Anne Arundel's 70-66 loss back on Dec. 3.
"I had adream I was going to shut him down. I was determined," said Chambers, who was running the point two months ago and did not guard Dixon.
Dixon fell into early foul trouble and scored just two points in the first half, when the Pioneers were busy turning the rematch into a rout. He finished with 12 points and was a non-factor.
Chambers, meanwhile, tied Ronnie Wade for game-high scoring honors with 25 points, including 18 in the opening half. He also grabbed six rebounds andmade a spectacular block on an attempted layup shortly before intermission.
Wade, who also had 25 points in Sunday's 117-73 victory over Montgomery-Rockville, fired in six three-pointers.
"We got a lot of good, consistent scoring from the outside this time," said Pioneers coach Mark Amatucci, whose team is 22-4 overall and ranked sixth nationally in the Division II junior college poll.
"Dell got off acouple of jumpers and Ronnie hit a couple jumpers, and that really helps out your inside game."
Chambers said, "It was a team effort, really. Everybody was real intense."
With the second-semester addition of point guard Jay Mouzon, Amatucci was able to move Chambers back to small forward, giving the Pioneers a different look from the last time Essex had seen them.
"Having Jay at point and having Dell at his natural position were two big pluses right there," Amatucci said.
James Sharps and Ray Osborne came off the Pioneers' bench to score 12 and 10 points, respectively. Tom Rose and Butch Williams each added eight points, as the hosts shot 50 percent (41-of-82) from the floor.
John Washington led the Knights with 18 points.
Essex shot 38 percent (24-of-63) and committed 27 turnovers while trying to solve Anne Arundel's zone press, which had not been used in the December game.
"Last time, we let them walk the ball upcourt," Chambers said. "This time, we went right after them."
They attacked on offense, as well, forcing Essex coach Jerry Phipps to switch from a match-up zone to a 2-1-2 zone. Eventually, he had his players come out and play man-to-man, much to Amatucci's liking.
"When he does that, I think that's to our advantage now, because we get more movement from everybody," Amatucci said.
Essex (9-13) turned the ball over on its first two possessions, and Anne Arundel countered with a Rose layup and baskets from Williams and Chambers.
Anne Arundel was leading, 9-4, when Wade canned two consecutive three-pointers -- the secondbringing an Essex timeout.
"Because we did a good job scoring early against the zone, that made (Phipps) have to come out and do something different and change the complexion of the game right away," Amatucci said.
The teams traded baskets until the Pioneers ran off eight straight points to go up, 33-15. By halftime, they were ahead, 50-34.
When Wade buried his fourth three-pointer of the second half,Anne Arundel was cruising, 72-47.
"It was a great overall effort," Amatucci said. "That's the kind where you can't find any fault withthem because the kids played so hard."