Hawks' rally falls short

January 05, 2006|by CHRIS CARTER /Staff Correspondent

The Hagerstown Community College men's basketball team picked the wrong night to attempt a come-from-behind victory.

The Hawks returned from a four-week layoff Wednesday and nearly erased a 21-point deficit, only to fall to Montgomery County-Rockville 87-75 at the HCC athletic complex.

Hagerstown (3-8, 2-2) trailed 61-40 early in the second half, but closed the gap to three points three times late in the second half. The Hawks suffered from a 3 1/2-minute scoring drought in the closing minutes, allowing the Knights (5-6) to pull away.

"After we cut the lead to three our legs got tired. We used too much energy trying to come back from down 21," Hagerstown coach Kenny Keyes said. "The guys haven't played since Dec. 7 and they just aren't back in game shape yet."


The layoff also affected the Hawks' shooting game - especially from long range. Hagerstown made only two 3s - both by Derrick Fields - well shy of their season average of nine.

"There's nothing you can do when the shots don't fall," Keyes said. "We hit two 3s and they hit 10. That's going to beat you all day long."

Rockville drained seven 3s in the first half and three more in the first four minutes of the second half to open its lead to 21.

"That's our game. Shooting is our strength," said Rockville coach Steve Hobson. "If we're not hitting those 3s then things probably aren't going our way."

The Knights went scoreless from beyond the arc over the game's final 16 minutes, which allowed Hagerstown to cut into the lead. The Hawks used a 33-15 run over a 12-minute span in the second half to close the gap to 76-73 with 3:47 remaining. Richardo Lovelace scored eight of his game-high 21 points during the stretch.

"We're not used to having a 21-point lead ... not against a team with the athletic capabilities of Hagerstown," Hobson said. "We went through ups and downs and peaks and valleys in this game and we were real low for a while.

"I really liked how (Lovelace) played for them. I wish I had five of him on my team. I love how active he is out there."

Despite Lovelace's efforts, the Hawks never got any closer than three and were held without a basket until 18 seconds remained in the game. Rockville made nine free throws down the stretch to seal the win.

Bilal Baisa had 19 points to lead four Knights in double figures. Sylvester Brooks had 16 points, while David Jones and Beyagi Butchilly each added 13.

Rayquan Miles had 13 points and Fields added 11 for Hagerstown. Momodou Job and Emmanuel Jean-Francois each nine and Jabel Sallah chipped in with eight.

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