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Hawks revvin' with 7

January 27, 2007|by BOB PARASILITI

You could say the Hagerstown Community College men's basketball team is playing dogged defense lately.

It's been "See spot. Run."

The Hawks have lost a number of players from their roster, but in a sense that has made them a better team. HCC has relied on the positioning in a number of stiff, halfcourt zone defenses to get into a quick-paced offense for better results.

On Friday, it translated to a fast start with four Hawks reaching double figures in HCC's 69-57 win over CC Baltimore-Essex.

"The guys are just learning their spots on defense," HCC coach Kenny Keyes said. "They are talking a lot more, too. I got guys out there who want to play defense. We are seven strong."

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HCC had to be. Each team dressed seven players, meaning each only had two players left on the bench. Fouls were called sparingly, which allowed more aggressive play.

The Hawks (5-14) took advantage of the situation early, using their 2-1-2 defensive set to spring turnovers and start a quick 22-7 lead in the first 10 minutes of the game. Tommy Cox got rollng early, scoring 11 of his 16 points in the opening stretch, mostly off steals and transition.

"My first bucket, I ran the floor and got a layup," Cox said. "That gave me some confidence and made the basket start to look real big. I wanted to get confidence and get up on them early because they beat us by 22 points when we played them down at their place."

The Hawks never allowed the Black Knights (4-16) off the deck. HCC used a 10-0 run late in the half to build a 41-17 lead. Essex managed the last three points of the half to go in trailing 41-20 at the intermission.

HCC did it with a more tempered version of their fast-breaking attack, which beat Essex down the floor.

"What has really helped us is that in practice we don't have many guys and we are just running up and down the floor," Cox said. "We are getting used to it. So, when we get in a game, it's the same thing except it's against another team.

"And it's been good because we don't have any guys complaining that they aren't getting enough shots. We are passing the ball more and most everyone knows they will get the next shot and get back in the game quickly because we don't have that many guys."

HCC failed to connect on the knockout blow, though, as Essex scored the first six points of the second half to pull within 15 points. But the Black Knights never got closer than 12 points of the lead.

Leon Nelson led HCC with 17 points and 14 rebounds, while John Long added 16 points and 11 boards. Marquis Waters had 11 points and Cox added 11 rebounds. Lamont Burnley led Essex with 14 points.

"It was pretty amazing," Keyes said. "We got four guys in double figures and it was perfect. There is a lot less ego involved. We've got a chance of three guys coming back and, if they do, I hope they don't mess things up."

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