Hawks, Trojans renew rivalry tonight

January 14, 1997


Staff Writer

Hagerstown Junior College basketball coach Jim Brown is making a habit of writing in pencil these days, because pencils have erasers.

And that's important, since things written on paper can be misleading and are often easily changed.

Take tonight's matchup with Allegany Community College, for example. On paper, the game - which tips off at 7:30 at the HJC athletic complex - should be over before it starts.

"If you look at this game on paper, we might as well not show up," Brown said. "But in athletics, the great thing is that you have a chance to win every time you go out on the floor and play, no matter what it says on paper. We'll be going out to play."


The game shapes up as an undaunting task for the Hawks, who will be playing Allegany for the first of three times this season.

The Trojans (16-1) are ranked No. 3 in the nation and lost in last year's national championship game. Allegany is riding a 14-game win streak after Monday's 137-46 shellacking of Montgomery-Takoma Park.

"On paper, everything is stacked on their side," Brown said. "They've only lost one game (a 65-64 loss at Vincennes, Ind.), and that is even questionable. They are a great team. ... Hey, they opened the season as the top-ranked team in the country."

Allegany returns the perimeter team of Mike Renfro, Recus Nix and Michael Horton and has added 6-foot-8 Terrell McKelvy and 6-6 Quincy Gause, a pair of transfers from Spartanburg (S.C.) Methodist, to bolster the inside.

Early in the season, this game didn't look to be as glamourous as some past encounters. But HJC has enhanced this meeting with a run of its own. With the help of two forfeited games, the Hawks (14-5) are riding an eight-game win streak.

"Regardless of the records, they play against us differently than they do against anyone else," Allegany coach Bob Kirk said. "We just try to play it like it is another one of the 30 games we play. It's more of a city thing that the people keep it going since the communities are so close together. But this game doesn't count in the Maryland JuCo standings, so it's just one for bragging rights."

If HJC has a weakness in this game, it will come from inexperience and a lack of size and depth. The Hawks, with nine freshmen on the team, have lost four players to academic ineligibility and have only two legitimate big men on the roster.

Despite what looks like a classic mismatch, Brown says games have a way of evening out on the floor.

"These are great games, historically. The intensity is super," Brown said. "I hope we are mature enough. We are taking all freshmen in to play the national runner-up squad. The challenge for HJC is we will be playing a team that could very well blow us out by 50 points or we can play the best game of our lives. There is a point in every game that HJC needs one or two players to step up for us to stay in the game. If we can stay in this game, anything can happen."

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