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No laughing matter - HCC falls in OT

February 18, 2006|By BOB PARASILITI

bobp@herald-mail.com

In basketball, like comedy, timing is everything.

On Friday, the Hagerstown Community College men's basketball team died ... and it wasn't funny.

In fact, the joke was on HCC. Riddle: There were two teams playing at HCC's athletic complex, both named the Hawks. Which team won? Answer: The one with only seven players, by an 82-77 count in overtime.

It was far from a laughing matter for HCC coach Kenny Keyes. His Hawks were battling for position and seeding for next weekend's Maryland JuCo Conference tournament and consistency in a season of inconsistency. It didn't matter who came first, the chicken or HCC ... they both laid an egg.

"They wanted it more than we did," Keyes said. "They beat us down the floor all night. They beat us in our (fullcourt press) and we missed too many shots. If you can't make a bucket, you have to get back in your halfcourt defense. We didn't play defense.

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"They have been looking forward to this game all year. Marko had his boys pumped up."

The game marked the return of Marko Hamlin, who played for HCC last season, to Hagerstown. Hamlin got the last laugh on his former team. Hamlin had 19 points, while becoming a dominant figure in the paint for Southern Maryland, especially in overtime.

Southern Maryland began to get all the loose balls and stray rebounds in the 5-minute extra period while HCC limped through the overtime with a foot full of bullet holes.

"That is the story of our season," Keyes said. "Down the stretch, we can't get the ball. We didn't play defense. They are tired and can't handle it. They've played too many games on too many days in a row.

Friday was the makeup of last Saturday's weather postponement and became the third game of a four-game set in six days. To top it off, the game started 45 minutes late because Southern Maryland was stuck in traffic and HCC started warming up for a 7:30 start, even though the game started at 7:45.

"In the first half, I thought that got to us," Keyes said. "But I don't know what happened in the second half."

Southern Maryland threw a leash on HCC's 3-point shooting attack and used methodical zone defenses and gutty offense to either lead or stay close the entire game.

HCC came from 12 points down to assume a 64-59 lead with 7:43 remaining on five straight points by Ricardo Lovelace.

Southern Maryland followed with a 14-7 run to take a 73-71 lead on Sean Ussery's 3 from the corner with 46 seconds remaining.

Derek Fields tied the game at 73-73 by hitting both ends of a 1-and-1 situation with 29.7 seconds remaining. Southern Maryland tried to win the game on the final shot of regulation, but turned the ball over with 9 seconds remaining. Momodou Jobe tried to win the game with a 21-footer with 3 seconds remaining, but the shot went off the back of the rim.

The teams traded baskets in the first 4 minutes of overtime to stay tied at 77-77. Hamlin scored on an 8-footer on an alley-oop inbounds pass with 58 seconds remaining to give Southern Maryland the lead, which it iced with three foul shots.

HCC had a chance to tie the game at 80-80 with 10 seconds remaining but missed three 3-point shots, all off offensive rebounds.

Anthony Stowe led Southern Maryland with 24 points. Fields finished with 23 for HCC, while Lovelace added 16 and Tommy Cox and Marcus Sugars added 11 each. HCC was 9 of 21 from 3-point range, but only hit 2 of 5 attempts in the second half.

"We haven't been shooting that many 3s lately," Keyes said. "We told them to get the ball in the second half. (Lovelace) was in there killing them, but couldn't hit any shots. We couldn't finish."

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