Sunday is no day of rest for HCC men, women

January 05, 2004|by BILL STERNER / Staff Correspondent

Hagerstown Community College basketball coach Kenny Keyes didn't need to look at numbers on any stat sheet to tell what went wrong on Sunday.

The digits were ingrained in his memory.

They were 21 and 23 - as in No. 21 Willy Youcthon and No. 23 Garfield Johns, who combined for 53 points to lead Monroe (N.Y.) Community College to a 91-89 victory over the Hawks at the HCC athletic complex.

The hot-handed Mustangs buried 12 3-pointers to hold off HCC (10-2), which fell behind by as many as 13 points in the second half before steadily climbing back into contention.

Despite averaging 88 points per game, Monroe was unable to completely eliminate the Hawks. Instead, HCC hampered itself with costly turnovers and some poor perimeter shooting that produced only two 3-pointers for the game.


"That tells the story right there," Keyes said. "It's pretty tough to stay up with them when they outshoot you 12-2 in 3s."

HCC stayed close to Monroe early despite facing a bigger lineup featuring three players of at least 6-foot-8.

The Hawks ran out to an early 23-16 lead in the first 12 minute of the half before Youcthon and Johns began their onslaught of 3s.

The outside shooting coupled with the inside play of 6-7 Nie Cohen and 6-9 Barhin Howard allowed Monroe to erase the deficit and build the 13-point lead early in the second half.

Thomas Johnson started the Hawks' rally, draining a 21-footer from the right of the key at the 15:40 mark to start HCC's comeback bid.

"We definitely played better in the second half," Keyes said. "We were asleep early on, but I'll give our guys credit. They played hard down the stretch."

Jamal Kittleberger's trey gave HCC an 83-82 lead with 3:40 remaining. Terrell Kittleberger's jumper in the lane put the Hawks up by three, but Monroe answered back.

Johns tied the game with a 3 and won it with four straight free throws down the stretch to ice the victory.

"We didn't shoot well tonight," Keyes said. "In a close game, poor shooting will kill you."

Women: Mercer 80, HCC 58

HCC suffered through the second night of back-to-back games as fatigue slowed the Hawks while Mercer College claimed the victory.

The Vikings rushed to a 44-30 halftime lead and never looked back as HCC (7-5) struggled through frigid shooting and lethargic defense.

"We are not in sync," HCC guard Eariel Gholson said. "It's not the flu or injuries or anything else - it's us. We have to communicate and play better on both offense and defense."

Gholson finished with 16 points.

Hagerstown continued to play inconsistently, this time against the more aggressive Vikings, which spelled disaster.

Mercer held a 66-35 lead halfway through the second half before coach Marlys Palmer settled the Hawks down. But HCC's inability to keep Mercer off the boards didn't allow the Hawks to mount a comeback.

The Hawks made a bid to rally, but it was too late.

"It's a team thing," Gholson said. "We need better effort. This is a great team and we have to start playing like it."

Palmer says better days for the Hawks are just a matter of time.

"This team is simply taking a little longer to come together," Palmer said. "We don't have a feel for each other quite yet."

Mercer's Victoria Jenkins had a game-high 25 points.

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