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Taking chances

HCC has beter time vs. CSM second time around

HCC has beter time vs. CSM second time around

February 22, 2006|by BOB PARASILITI

bobp@herald-mail.com

Hagerstown Community College made good use of a mulligan on Tuesday.

The reward? A second second chance against Allegany, with hopes of getting another drive at teams against which the first shot went out of bounds.

That is the nature of the beast this time of year. It's tournament time. Teams everywhere get the chance for absolution from a host of regular-season sins when the postseason brackets show up.

The sixth-seeded Hawks took the first step to erasing a forgettable last week - barely - by gathering enough composure to hold off 11th-seeded College of Southern Maryland 88-82 in the first round of the Maryland JuCo Conference tournament. HCC held on despite squandering a 20-point lead to atone for last Friday's overtime loss to the same CSM team.

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"This tournament is all about that," HCC coach Kenny Keyes said. "When the tournament draw came out, it was perfect for us. It's everything we could have hoped for."

By knocking off Southern Maryland, HCC atoned for the 82-77 overtime loss to a team with just seven players. It was the prelude to Saturday's 72-71 loss to Allegany and followed last Wednesday's 76-72 loss to Prince George's.

The win moves HCC into a rematch with fourth-seeded Allegany at 7 p.m. on Friday when the quarterfinals of the Maryland JuCo tournament come to HCC's athletic complex. At stake is a possible semifinal date against second-seeded Prince George's on Saturday.

What else could Keyes ask for? An easier win on Tuesday.

HCC used its defense and running game to push Southern Maryland out of its comfort zone and into numerous mistakes as the Hawks took a 51-36 halftime lead and built it to a 63-42 advantage on Rayquan Miles 15-foot jumper with 16:54 remaining.

"(Getting another shot at Southern Maryland) motivated these guys," Keyes said. "They wanted to get them and that's why they played so well early. But once we get up, they get to playing like individuals."

HCC slid faster than Bode Miller's gold medal hopes over the next 10 minutes as Southern Maryland unleashed a sticky trap zone defense to gum up the Hawks' works. The Hawks hit the eject button on passes, throwing many away, and fired up quick, errant shots to pull the chute on their momentum.

Ricky Marzett scored nine points and Anthony Stowe added six points to pace Southern Maryland's 31-8 run over the next 10:24.

"Their trap was one of the best I've seen all year," Keyes said. "They played like they didn't want their season to end. They aren't going to the region because their coach didn't want to put them through it with just seven guys. They really wanted to keep their season going."

They almost did, but the momentum changed.

First, Marzett and Keith Wagner, the guard tandem which provided much of the defensive pressure, each were called for their fourth fouls. Then, all the air went out of the sails when Southern Maryland's bench was whistled for a technical foul. Momodou Jobe hit both free shots to put HCC back on top 74-73 with 5:49 remaining, a lead the Hawks held the rest of the way.

Derrick Fields scored six of his 10 points in HCC's closing 18-9 run to seal the game.

HCC's bench - led by Jabel Sallah and Ryan Henry - gave the Hawks the early boost to establish the early lead before Jobe, who finished with a game-high 20, and Fields closed out the win.

"We played man practically the whole game," Keyes said. "On Friday, we played a lot of zone against them and that played right into their hands. We couldn't let them stand out there and pass the ball out there the whole game. My bench came on. Jabel is coming on and Henry hit some big shots."

Lamar Richburg added 13 points for the Hawks, while Tommy Cox had 12 - both off the bench. Wagner finished with 19 while Stowe had 18 and Marzett finished with 17 for Southern Maryland.

Now, HCC has a second chance at their second chances.

"When we get the pace up, we are tough to beat," Keyes said. "We got to the 80s again and won. We scored in the 70s against them on Friday and lost. We just don't know how to finish games."

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