Hawks' squared Circle

November 30, 2000

Hawks' squared Circle

HCC goes to Idaho with few ideas, but big expectations

By BOB PARASILITI / Staff Writer

Coach Jim Brown has very few instructions for the Hagerstown Community College basketball team this week.

He didn't waste his time. The Hawks wouldn't have understood anyway.

HCC heads west to play in the Arctic Circle Tournament in Twin Falls, Idaho, at the University of Southern Idaho. The Hawks will be in a strange city playing in a highly charged atmosphere in games with national implications. But they face two teams they've never heard of before meeting the Big Daddy of the round-robin format - Southern Idaho itself.

"I don't care what I tell them about this tournament, they won't understand anything about the situation until we get there," Brown said. "It will be wait-and-see. I've seen No. 1-rated teams in the country before and the rest of them haven't."


But even Brown will have to look some to find a top-rated team when he hits the three-game affair. Southern Idaho was ranked No. 1 in preseason polls, but had fallen to No. 3 in the first NJCAA poll released Tuesday. The Hawks (6-0) surprisingly checked in at No. 20.

The whole week has been targeted to playing Southern Idaho and the No. 1 ranking. But even before the Hawks can entertain thoughts of tackling JuCo's higher echelon, they have to get by two teams they know very little - if anything - about.

HCC opens tonight at 8 against Snead State of Boaz, Ala., and will take on Citrus College of Glendora, Calif., on Friday at 8 before facing Southern Idaho on Saturday at 10 p.m.

Brown admits knowing nothing at all about his two early opponents, but the HCC coach isn't in the habit of wasting time with opposing teams. He works more on the Hawks' game than on preparation.

"The two things we have to see are the way the team bonds on the road. We have only been on the road one time," Brown said. "Plus we have to see how they all react to playing three games in three days. This team is young and not physically strong so we don't know how they will manage three games in a row or the travel."

Still, the chance to play Southern Idaho is tops on Brown's list.

It's a rivalry that began back in 1989 when Dexter Boney hit a basket in the final seconds to knock off the then-No. 1 team in the first round of the national tournament. The Hawks got USI again in a tournament at the HCC athletic complex.

The two victories have make HCC a marked team.

"They are always happy to see us when we come out there," Brown said. "It's a product of beating them twice. Not too many teams can say that. But their fans like to see us and seem to enjoy the eastern style of play."

HCC enters the tournament with six players in double figures, led by Corey Tabron at 14 points per game. Brandon DeShields follows at 13.0 with Dominic Crutchfield scoring at 12.3 and Eric Branham at 12.2. Brian Showers is the Hawks' top rebounder with 7.3 per game while Branham, Bayi Handy and Shawn Waller have combined for 77 assists.

With everything involved, Brown will be waiting to see just how the Hawks will respond.

"We are going to find out if this team can reach deep down and get the best effort they can against a top team this weekend," Brown said.

The Herald-Mail Articles