Fields starts, stars for HCC

February 08, 2005|by BOB PARASILITI

Hagerstown Community College coach Kenny Keyes had one of those last-minute feelings.

And because of that, Derek Fields was prevented from having one of his own.

Keyes waited until after warmups to tell Fields he was going to start Monday against CCBC-Essex. The late nod prevented Fields from suffering from his usual bout of pregame nervousness and allowed him to jump right into a 22-point performance to lead the Hawks to a 93-68 Maryland JuCo Conference victory.

"Usually when I start games, I'm nervous," Fields said. "It's just the way I am. But today, I was able to go out and focus right away and get into the game."

Fields hit HCC's first basket and eight of the Hawks' first 21 points in the opening 7 1/2 minutes en route to a 21-7 lead. From there, it didn't get any prettier for the Black Knights.


"I didn't give him a chance (to get nervous)," Keyes said. "I didn't tell him he was starting until they came over before introductions. I had a feeling he'd have a good game. I saw how small (Essex) was and I thought we could get him in and get him off to a good start."

Fields was the tone-setter for the Hawks (16-6, 13-3), who remain solidly in third place in the Maryland JuCo standings with one league game to play.

"Once he hits his first couple of shots, he's OK," Keyes said. "He was mad because I took him out of the starting lineup. I knew when he got back in it, he'd respond. He didn't have a chance to get nervous."

Fields' play opened up HCC's game. Even though it wasn't an artistic success, it all helped the Hawks display many weapons.

"Coach is always telling me to shoot," Fields said. "I need to go out and focus. Things worked out good with the offense and I got the open shots. David Miner is the star, but he can't carry the load alone all the time. We've got to help him out because this isn't a one-man team."

Miner took the role of supporting cast, looking to pass and working the offense instead of shooting. He still managed 18 points, but had 16 rebounds and five assists.

"(Fields) turned David into a pass-and-assist guy today," Keyes said.

As if the Hawks needed to tighten down any more on Essex, HCC applied the death grip on the game by keeping the Black Knights without a basket for 4 minutes, 21 seconds.

HCC experienced foul problems, allowing Essex the chance to score from the foul line. But the Black Knights hit only 4 of 14 foul shots in the drought to fall behind, 34-15.

"Our defense makes our offense better," Keyes said. "When we play good defense, everything picks up. We have been averaging 15 steals a game and it all adds to the offense. Today, we played a straight man and we got all the matchups."

Essex crawled back to within 34-24 before HCC unleashed a 17-10 run in the final five minutes of the half as Miner scored 11 points for a 51-34 halftime advantage.

HCC scored the first six points of the second half. The Hawks' lead grew to as many as 27 points before settling on the final margin.

Alonzo Patterson scored 15 points for the Hawks. Fields added five assists and five steals.

Gary Neverdon led Essex with a game-high 27 points.

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