Hawks dreaming about trip home

March 08, 1997


Staff Writer

No matter what happens this weekend, the Hagerstown Junior College women's basketball team won't have to make travel plans.

The Hawks have been aiming toward the Region XX tournament all season, looking for the chance to win and earn the right to stay in Hagerstown. That's right - stay in Hagerstown.

If HJC, the tournament's top seed, wins tonight's semifinal, the Hawks will be half of the way to representing the region in next weekend's national tournament, which will be held at the HJC athletic complex.

"Teams all over the country will be playing for the right to come to Hagerstown," HJC coach Marlys Palmer said. "We're already in Hagerstown. Others want to get to go to places to play in the nationals, we just want to get here. With the tournament here, it hurts to sit in the stands and watch when you're not in it. It's our dance and we should be dancing at it."


If HJC wins tonight, it will face the winner of today's game between Frederick and Potomac State on Sunday for the region title and the national tournament bid.

To do that, the Hawks have to get past a disappointing showing in the Maryland JuCo Tournament. HJC entered that tournament as the top seed and lost in the semifinals to Anne Arundel, the eventual champion.

"There were a couple of things in that loss," Palmer said. "First, I don't think I coached that game well. I made a couple of decisions that didn't work. But throughout the tournament, our inside game was non-existent. We had a tough time scoring, with the exception of Heather (Aleshire) and Toni (DeStefano). Our bench was only 1 for 10 shooting. We played scared."

Palmer attributes some of the timid play to being the top seed.

"It's difficult to sit in the No. 1 spot," she said. "You're expected to win. All players step up at tournament time, but the underdogs take bigger steps. The top seeds usually think they don't have to step up as much."

Aleshire has been HJC's top scorer, averaging 25 points a game, second best in JuCo Division II. DeStefano is averaging 14 points, and the inside play of Carrie Craft and Kim Reid have added balance to the attack.

"The key for us this weekend is to be focused an confident," Palmer said. "I don't feel like we have played our best game yet ... we've won a lot, but not with our best game. Each game has had a failure in execution at one point. It all comes down to doing the blue-collar things."

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