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Ugly play beautiful for Hawks

February 23, 2005|by JACK HILL III/Staff Correspondent

If beauty is in the eye of the beholder, Hagerstown Community College basketball coach Kenny Keyes blinked on Tuesday.

"It was ugly, but we won," said Keyes after the fourth-seeded Hawks outlasted Anne Arundel 84-80 in a Maryland JuCo Conference Tournament play-in game.

After all, it is the time of season when extreme makeovers are shelved in the name of survival. When it's tournament time, losses are one and done while victories mean win and you're in.

The Hawks (19-8) live - just barely - for another day.

HCC enjoyed a number of comfortable, double-digit leads throughout the game but had breakdowns to allow the No. 13-seed Pioneers to get back in the game. Edward Young scored 22 of his game-high 34 points in the second half to keep Anne Arundel (9-19) in contention.

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"Our lack of defense was the biggest factor in keeping Anne Arundel in the ball game," Keyes said. "We just couldn't shut Young down. When we went to that 2-2-1 zone defense, that changed the game around. We were able to contain him. We missed some key foul shots near the end and that also kept them in the game."

The switch in defense and the lift from Derek Fields, who came off the bench to score 15 of his 21 points in the second half, allowed the Hawks to maintain the lead.

"It was closer than what we wanted it to be," said HCC point guard Alonzo Patterson. "But we came out with the victory. We stepped it up on defense around the end of the game and that shut them down. We switched to a zone defense to make them shoot. They were missing some outside shots at the end."

Patterson, HCC's only sophomore, scored 14 points and added six assists to complement Fields. Momodou Jobe had 17 points, while David Miner finished with 11 points, 11 assists along with seven rebounds and seven steals.

With the victory, HCC moves into the JuCo quarterfinals against fourth-seeded Allegany Friday at 7 p.m. at the HCC athletic complex. The rest of the tournament will be played at HCC with the semifinals on Saturday and the finals on Sunday.

The Hawks have won the league tournament title only once - in 1992.

"I think that we have great potential as long as we continue to play together as a team," Patterson said. "We have several good shooters. If we can give them the ball in their spots, then they can knock it down. We also have to play good defense."

But that will mean the Hawks need to beautify their effort some to get in the position to run the JuCo table.

"It was win No. 19," Keyes said. "I thought that Anne Arundel played a great game. They had enough energy to beat us. We'll just see how we do in the next game."

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