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HCC comes to own defense for 5-point victory

November 28, 1999|By BOB PARASILITI

HCC won a basketball game by playing strong defense on Saturday.

That's right ... Hagerstown Community College. Don't check to see if you got the right paper. The Hawks showed that they know more than one way to win a game.

cont. from sports page

HCC pushed its trademark ping-pong style of basketball off to the side and dropped into full-contact chess mode, digging its heels in with some honest-to-goodness halfcourt defense to turn away Monroe Community College 86-81 in the second day of the sixth annual Home Federal Invitational.

"We got down and dirty today," HCC coach Jim Brown said. "We played some great defense today. We used our depth to our advantage and we closed the gaps down to keep them from penetrating the way they did."

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In a game covered with physical play - there were 60 fouls and 81 foul shots - the Hawks (5-2) showed for the first time in many a season that they are more than another (just look) pretty basketball team.

After six ties and 13 lead changes, HCC and Monroe were locked in a 68-68 tie with 5:46 remaining. Then the Hawks not only played defense, they added a stronger emphasis on the inside game.

It paid off with a 13-2 run over the next 2 1/2 minutes, keyed by center Paul Micheal and forward Brian Williams. Micheal broke the tie with a pair of layups and a defensive stop leading to a Travis Roberson breakaway. Williams powered in for two other short shots and added a foul shot for five of his 16 points to help the Hawks build a 81-70 lead.

"I think everyone started out thinking we needed to do other things and then go inside with the ball," Micheal said. "But going inside was where we got things done. Today we had more focus."

HCC was coming off a 101-83 loss to Champlain (Vt.) on Friday, a game where the Hawks didn't play anywhere close to Brown's expectations. That didn't seem to bode well for HCC, especially since it lost by 20 points in an earlier meeting with Monroe.

"This was very important to us," said Micheal, who finished with 11 points. "They had embarrassed us and we had to get them back. I think this game might help us grow together as a team."

Even with the run, HCC couldn't notch the victory. Monroe (7-2) put the ball in the hands of point guard Karl Sanders, who scored a game-high 28 points, and used the Hawks' foul line phobia to climb back into the game in the final two minutes.

The Tribunes moved within 83-79 with 30 seconds remaining until Delvin Anderson stole the ball from Chris Kinney, resulting in a Janson Greene foul shot and a five-point lead.

HCC won despite hitting just 25 of 48 foul shots, including 8 of 14 in the last five minutes. Corey Tabron led the Hawks with 18 points.

"This guys had to experience this," Brown said. "Then needed to know how hard they have to play to win on the community college level. These games are usually guard-oriented, but they did it with an inside game. The difference of this game was intensity. It's hard to find, but it's starting to come."

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