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Hawks' next task - beating Allegany - a job for Jobe

February 18, 2006|By BOB PARASILITI

bobp@herald-mail.com

While some teams live by the shot clock, the Hagerstown Community College men's basketball team gauges its success on a makeshift barometer.

OK, so the Hawks will actually be watching the scoreboard hanging over the HCC athletic complex floor, but it will be the biggest indicator of whether they are running hot or chilling out against arch-rival Allegany.

HCC hosts Allegany for the second time this season tonight at 7 in a game of huge proportions for seeding in next week's Maryland JuCo Conference tournament and the upperhand in the league standings.

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How well the Hawks do depends on how readily points pop up on the scoreboard.

"If the game is in the 70s, usually we are on the bottom end of the score," said HCC coach Kenny Keyes. "But if we can get the game in the 80s or 90s, we win. If we play the game at our tempo, we are tough to beat."

It will be a battle of wills when it comes to the tempo of the game. As much as HCC (12-12, 10-4) wants to run, Allegany would like to apply the brakes on any freestyle play. The Trojans are bigger and more physical than the Hawks, the usual scenario for this longstanding Western Maryland rivalry.

Allegany returns to Hagerstown after defeating HCC 71-68 on Dec. 7. The Hawks were a project in transformation then as Momodou Jobe was moving from small forward to the point guard slot. Meanwhile, Allegany was playing without 6-foot-9 Eric Whitehurst. Donald Johnson led Allegany in the first meeting with 21 points.

This time, all the pieces are in place.

HCC has found its track with Jobe at the point, going 12-6 since the switch. He is third on the Hawks at 10 points per game, but is averaging 14 points and 5.6 assists per game since moving to the point. Ricardo Lovelace is HCC's leading scorer at 15 points per game while Derek Fields checks in at 14 per outing.

"For us, the key is Momo. If he pushes the ball and gets the tempo ... I don't think they can run with us. We look at this as still a rivalry," Keyes said. "It's a shame the fans don't. ... They seemed to have left since (coaches) Jim (Brown) and Bob (Kirk) have retired."

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