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Hawks answer call from Cardinals, 86-84

January 25, 2001

Hawks answer call from Cardinals, 86-84



By BILL STERNER / Staff Correspondent


In a week where the Super Bowl is likely the sporting world's biggest focus, Hagerstown Community College men's basketball coach Jim Brown was doing his best Joe Namath imitation - with a twist.

Where the legendary Namath guaranteed a win for his Jets in the big game, Brown insisted his Hawks win maybe their biggest game in a season that was dangerously close to taking a serious nosedive.

The result: A numbing last-second layup by Gebront Gaddy, giving the Hawks a dramatic 86-84 win at the HCC athletic complex Wednesday night over a Catonsville team that led the entire game until the last 52 seconds.

"We have played through our roughest stretch and these kids have responded," Brown said. "I don't know why we won, but I do know we got up off the floor and showed we still had some good basketball left in us."

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HCC (17-4) entered the game on the heels of a less than memorable weekend, losing in overtime to Garrett and then getting blown out by Allegany less than 24 hours later.

The Hawks did little to change the direction of things in the first half against Catonsville (6-11), as their high-octane offense trudged along a slow-moving treadmill.

With the Cardinals' Will Maynard outquicking them and the 6-foot-5 Anthony Breland outplaying them inside, HCC went into a funk - staying close but never ready to take the lead. Six times the Hawks came within two points or less and each time they allowed the Cardinals to inch away.

That changed with just under a minute left, as the game suddenly looked like it was being played on a high-tension trampoline. Eric Branham's running 3-pointer tied the game at 80-80, then Gaddy hit both ends of a 1-and-1 to give HCC the lead.

But a 3 by Catonsville's Kenny Carter and a free throw from Breland gave the Cardinals an 84-82 lead, until Branham was fouled with 21 seconds left and he coolly dropped in a pair of free throws to tie the game again.

"We weren't really nervous." Gaddy said. "Coach reminded us it was just like practice - act like we've been in this situation before."

Ten seconds later, the Cardinals committed a turnover, allowing the Hawks to set up Gaddy's heroics with one second left.

"I think we are afraid to win," Catonsville coach Randy Gregory said. "We had kids out there that didn't want the ball. In this league, you can't be afraid to win."

It was the third game this season the Cardinals tanked at the buzzer.

"It is so frustrating," Gregory continued. "But I can't do it for them."

Breland and Maynard both had 28 for Catonsville. Gaddy finished with 20 points for HCC, while Branham had 24.

"We wanted to focus on the game today," Gaddy said of his teammates. "We needed to forget those last two games and move on."

HCC 86, Catonsville 84



CATONSVILLE (84)

Maynard 12 2-2 28, Smith 2 2-2 6, Carter 1 0-0 3, Breland 9 9-11 28, Baker 1 2-3 4, Bland 4 3-5 11, Bishop 1 0-0 2, Lewis 1 0-0 2. Totals 31 18-23 84.

HCC (86)

Tabron 5 1-1 11, Branham 7 6-7 24, Handy 2 0-0 4, DeShields 3 6-8 14, Gause 1 0-0 2, Jennings 2 3-4 7, Goodman 1 0-0 2, Gaddy 7 6-9 20, Hoffman 1 0-0 2. Totals 29 22-29 86.

Halftime-Catonsville 33, HCC 27. Three-point goals-Catonsville 4 (Maynard 2, Breland, Carter), HCC 6 (Branham 4, DeShields 2). Fouled Out-Breland, Tabron.

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