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HCC flies in opener

November 04, 2002|by ANDREW MASON

andrewm@herald-mail.com

First-year Hagerstown Community College men's basketball coach Kenny Keyes made a couple of things clear in the Hawks' season opener Friday night.

He likes to run, and he likes to have fun.

The Hawks gunned their way to a 96-63 victory over CCAC South in the nightcap of the NJCAA Region XX Hall of Fame Tournament first-round twinbill at HCC. Which was especially fun for Keyes, who's now 1-0 at the Hawks helm.

"It's great to win. It's my first win," said Keyes, whose squad faces Rockville (a 100-97 winner over Harford in Friday's early game) in today's championship at 7 p.m. "I feel good. I feel real good. The fans were happy ... everybody was happy."

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"First game, we have to press and run," he said. "That's when we're having fun. That's what we're going to do all year. If you can run with us, good luck."

The Tigers kept pace for the game's first six minutes, holding onto a 15-14 lead. Then, the Hawks went to a higher a gear, ripping off a 14-2 run in a four-minute span to take the lead for good at 30-17.

HCC's Gebront Gaddy sparked the surge with a putback underneath, and Thomas Johnson, who finished with a team-high 18 points, capped it with five unanswered.

"We never let up," said Johnson. "We like to run up and down, and push it all the way up."

Andre Brooks and Green joined Johnson in double figures with 16 and 14 points, respectively.

CCAC South, which got a game-high 20 points from Ray Green, cut it to single digits at 32-23 with 8:13 left in the half. But Hawks swingman Tavis Green immediately answered with a 3-pointer and putback for two, and HCC never looked back.

The Hawks led 58-38 at the half, and spent much of the second half getting all of their players in the scoring column at the Tigers' expense.

"I put my third-string in," said Keyes. "They didn't get much time. What can I do?"

Today, he can try to go 2-0, as former Hawks coach Jim Brown, who racked up 517 career victories, is inducted into the Region XX Hall of Fame.

"I'd like to win that one tomorrow for the old coach," Keyes said. "so he can have a nice induction into the Hall."

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