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Hawks tiptoe to semis

February 26, 2005|BY CURT HORNBECKER

For Kenny Keyes and his Hagerstown Community College men's basketball team, missing free throws never looked so good.

David Miner saw to that.

The Hawks freshman guard tipped in a pair of missed free throws in the final 32 seconds to help throttle Allegany College 70-67 in the quarterfinal round of the Maryland JuCo Championship Tournament on Friday night at HCC.

Hagerstown (20-8) will face top-seeded Cecil Community College in the semifinal round today at 7 p.m. at HCC.

With the Hawks trailing 67-63 with 32 second left, Rayquan Miles hit a layup, but missed a chance for a three-point play. Miner, however, got a fingertip on the ball in a crowd to tie the game at 67-67.

After the Trojans turned the ball over, Alonzo Patterson was fouled. The Hawks sophomore hit the first shot, but missed the second, only to watch Miner repeat his performance from eight seconds earlier.

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"I try to work hard off the offensive and defensive boards," said Miner, who scored a team-high 15 points.

"There were a lot of big guys down there, but I was able to get around them."

Until the final 32 seconds, Allegany appeared to be in complete control. The Trojans quickly overcame a 12-point halftime deficit behind James Hairston, Donald Johnson and Tyronne Beale, using a 34-14 run to establish a 56-48 lead with 5:51 remaining.

After failing to connect from beyond the arc in the first half, Allegany drained 5 of 8 3-pointers in the rally. Overall in the half, the red-hot Trojans hit 16 of 29 shots from the field (55 percent).

"We were tired," said Keyes. "We spent too much energy in the first half."

The formula the Hawks used to establish its first-half lead is exactly how the Trojans erased that lead in the second half.

"I thought Hagerstown really beat us on the boards in the first half," said Trojans coach Mike Baker. "We weren't finding our man and checking him off. In the second half, we did a much better job."

Despite hitting just 14 of 44 shots (32 percent) from the floor in the first half, HCC used its rebounding edge and tough zone defense to limit the Trojans to just 27 chances from the field in the second half.

Derek Fields and Brian Collins provided the first-half offensive spark for the Hawks, combining for 16 points. HCC led by as many as 14 points before settling for a 34-22 margin at the half.

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