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HJC blitzes Catonsville, 95-62

November 21, 1996

By BOB PARASILITI

Staff Writer

Catonsville may have picked just the right time to play Hagerstown Junior College.

The way Hawks coach Jim Brown sees it, his team is just starting to play real defense, and still it won by 32 points Wednesday night. Imagine what the margin might have been had the Hawks known what they were doing.

Catonsville showed up undefeated and left deflated, unable to cope with a stifling defense and getting hammered, 95-63, at the HJC athletic complex.

"I looked at my assistants and said, `Now is the time this team has to learn to play college-level defense,'" Brown said. "This was a great game for these guys. They did a lot of great things. It was just tremendous defense, not just our fullcourt press, but our halfcourt game was outstanding."

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HJC (2-0) dismantled a formidable Maryland JuCo Conference opponent. The Cardinal backed up last year's trip to the NJCAA Division III national tournament with a 4-0 record to open the season.

The Hawks, with 12 freshmen on the roster, won for the second consecutive night. They defeated the Tunisian national team, 100-91, in an exhibition Tuesday.

Wednesday, five HJC players scored in double figures, and the defense made Catonsville look like it was playing fetch instead of basketball.

"We played real good defense in the second half," said forward James Stokes, who led HJC with 14 points, all in the second half. "(Catonsville) was playing a lot of one-on-one stuff out there and we played together. In the last two games, we played together for 40 minutes."

A Devon Wade slam ignited a 28-11 first-half run that gave the Hawks a 34-17 lead.

Catonsville scored the first four points of the second half to pull within 49-36 before Brown brought out the "Fresh Five," the freshmen quintet of Stokes, Wade, Bobby Wimbush, James Morse and Brian Samuels, considered the starters-in-waiting.

The group played disruptive defense and Stokes scored 12 points in a seven-minute span as HJC, its running game in high gear, bolted to a 71-45 lead with 9:50 remaining.

"That defense took them out of their game," Brown said. "When we can do that, it makes our offense look great because we are getting a lot of layups and it makes your shooting percentage look real good."

HJC led 85-50 with 4:38 left when Brown cleared the bench.

Morse added 12 points, Wade had 11, and Wimbush and Dwayne Johnson had 10 each. Catonsville center Jason Johnson led all scorers with 15 points.

"This game really put us on the spot defensively," Stokes said. "But this could be a preview of things to come because now we know if we play together, we can do anything."

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