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Hawks pound away, then put away Potomac

December 08, 1999|By DAN KAUFFMAN

For the first 25 minutes in Hagerstown Community College's matchup with Potomac State Wednesday, neither team could gain more than a four-point edge as the two women's teams traded blows.

Then, Naomi Mason landed a few sledgehammers - four of them to be exact - in the form of four 3-pointers in the second half as the Hawks defended their home court with a grind-it-out 69-60 victory.

"It was all Mason," HCC coach Marlys Palmer said. "She gave us what we needed."

With the Hawks holding on to the slimmest of leads at 35-34, Mason, a freshman from North Hagerstown, hit 3-pointers on three consecutive possessions, and Shanna Williams made a steal at midcourt on the following Potomac State possession and took it all the way to the basket as HCC gained a 46-36 lead, forcing a stunned Potomac State to call a timeout with 11:44 left.

"That (run) fired us up a little bit," Palmer said. "We were passive the whole game. We needed to pick up the defense."

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Two Potomac State baskets made it 46-40, but Mason followed with her final 3 and Williams hit her own 3 as HCC took its biggest lead of the night, 52-40.

Potomac State made one last surge, rallying to within two, 60-58, with 2:01 left. But Williams made another steal and converted it into a layup, and after Potomac State answered, Tia Ferguson, saddled with two fouls for almost all of the first half, made a tough layup inside and was fouled.

Ferguson finished the three-point play, and Williams made all four free-throw attempts in the final seconds to close the deal.

The heroics of Mason and Williams overshadowed an awful overall shooting performance by the Hawks, who made just 26 of 91 shots, a dismal 29 percent. Several misses were from within three feet.

But a win is a win, no matter how it looked.

"We're trying to get them to play with confidence more than what they do," Palmer said. "This was a great win for us."

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