HJC bottles up Genesee

January 07, 1997


Staff Writer

If talk is cheap, Hagerstown Junior College basketball coach Jim Brown got maximum return from the few syllables he uttered at halftime on Monday.

"I told them that that was `The most pathetic offensive showing in the history of this program,'" the 18th-year head coach said.

He might have been right. After all, the Hawks only hit 6 of 26 shots (23 percent) in the first half against Genesee Community College. But HJC found the mark shortly after Brown's words did by outscoring the Cougars by 24 points in the second half for a 76-65 victory at the HJC athletic complex.


Still, the last thing the Hawks (9-6) needed was a reminder of how poorly they played in the first half.

"Everybody in the locker room knew how badly we played," said forward Devon Wade. "Coach could come in and say what ever he wanted, it was still up to us because we're out there on the floor. He told us to go out and put it all on the line and that's what we did."

HJC broke down Genesee's grinding half court pressure by turning up the tempo at the start of the second half. The Hawks erased a 38-25 halftime deficit with a 21-8 run to pull into a 46-all tie in the first 6:50 of the second half. Then back-to-back 3-point baskets by Brian Samuels and James Morse gave HJC the lead and sent it on the way to the 11-point victory.

"We definitely turned up the intensity level," said Wade, who finished with 21 points and 16 rebounds. "It was like we weren't there in the first half. We challenged ourselves at halftime. We knew we were better than this."

Morse finished with 15 points and Samuels added 12 for the Hawks. Perry Jeffries topped Genesee with 20 points.

Wade has been forced to do yeoman duty in the paint for the Hawks. The 6-foot-8 forward has scored 57 points and 56 rebounds in his last three games as one of only two legitimate HJC big men. He will be on his own on Wednesday against Prince George's as James Stokes continues an indefinite academic suspension and Chris Jones will be suspended for collecting two technical fouls on Monday.

Genesee (6-8) - coached by Bill Van Gundy, the father of Jeff Van Gundy, the head coach of the New York Knicks - slowed the game and held HJC to three baskets in the final 14:11 of the first half. The Hawks hit 17 of 29 shots (59 percent) in the second half.

"Whatever it was at halftime, it got them going emotionally," Brown said. "Even Genesee's coach told me that we just physically beat them in the second half."

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