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HCC women get moving to top M-R

January 08, 2004|by BOB PARASILITI

bobp@herald-mail.com

Even the slowest pace can seem quick when you have been standing still.

For coach Marlys Palmer and the Hagerstown Community College women's basketball team, one step forward - no matter how small - was a positive movement.

So when HCC's press locked in for the last 10 minutes to turn a 47-47 tie into a 64-55 victory over Montgomery-Rockville at the HCC athletic complex Wednesday, inching along seemed like life in the fast lane.

"We ran at a snail's pace," Palmer said about it all. "Our press did fine."

But the Hawks have to admit, they headed in the right direction for the first time in some time.

With the victory, HCC (8-5, 3-2) ended a three-game losing streak which had them freefalling toward .500 after starting the season at 5-1. It was also the first time HCC came back from a halftime deficit to win a game.

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There were a couple of ups to go with the downs, which caused one member of the Hawks to exclaim, "Finally."

"I think it was 'finally' because they won," Palmer said. "I think that they thought they were going to lose once they were down at the half. It was the first time they came back."

HCC broke out of its funk with the help of a full-court press that forced Montgomery-Rockville into a number of turnovers in the backcourt. Those turnovers benefitted HCC's transition game, which in turn gave the Hawks an advantage in rebounding on misses.

Pressure made the Knights lesser.

"We try to play to our strengths, which are pressing, running and the transition," Palmer said. "We are normally a quick team, but it hasn't happened in the three losses."

Montgomery-Rockville led for most of the game until HCC forced five second-half ties. The Hawks' full-court pressure slowly took the Knights out of their attack game and put them into retract. Thirteen steals in a decisive 13-2 stretch over a six-minute span put HCC in control at 62-49 with 4:38 remaining.

"Kristy Long had three steals in there. She doesn't score much, but she is an integral part of the press," Palmer said. "Most of the steals were coming from the guards."

Eariel Gholson added four steals in the stretch while Veronica Johnson added three and Dee Brown picked off two more to completely change the movement of the game. The faster pace allowed Alicia Romero to get out on the break to score 16 points and a career-high 16 rebounds to pace the victory.

Johnson added another 16 points while Gholson had 11 points and 11 rebounds, allowing HCC to lead by as much as the 13 points before conceding the final margin of victory.

Montgomery-Rockville led 34-29 at the half with their more aggressive style before HCC's press took the Knights out of the flow. Shannin Ferguson led Montgomery-Rockville with 17 points while Clara Buie added 13.

Even with the turn of events, there was only one thing Palmer admitted to being happy about.

"The only thing I feel good about is that we won, not the way we have been playing" Palmer said. "We're 8-5 and we should be 11-2. We aren't playing hard enough and we aren't playing to our ability, but we still have time."

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