HCC gives Devlin 'W' in debut

January 03, 2008|By TIM KOELBLE

The edge Hagerstown Community College needed on Wednesday night against Catonsville came in the first five minutes.

In Ryan Devlin's debut as HCC's new men's basketball coach, the Hawks' players brushed aside any butterflies their new mentor might have had by bolting to a 9-0 lead and that was the main difference in a 78-71 Maryland JuCo victory.

"I was a little nervous before the game but I trusted this group of guys," said Devlin, who at 25 was in his first game as a head coach at any level of basketball. "We came back from the break to practice (on Dec. 28). I wanted to emphasize conditioning and get out and work, and we had a great focus in the first five minutes."

Devlin took over following the resignation of Terry Truax. Prior to coming to HCC, Devlin spent two years as an assistant at Bowling Brook Prep School.


Kelvin Bright led the Hawks with a stellar 30-point performance, hitting 9 of 17 field goals and all eight of his free throws - seven coming down the stretch in the second half that kept Catonsville at arm's length.

"(Bright) has matured and he has the experience," said Devlin. "He's our best player."

A sophomore with a year of experience at Robert Morris, Bright was one of only two Hawks regulars - the other was John Long - in the starting lineup. Will Taylor, Q'Monte Matheny and Tyrone Hicks each started as HCC lost three players to academic eligibility. The new starters fit in well.

The Hawks (11-3, 5-1) opened with a 3-pointer from the right wing by Bright.

Matheny scored in transition after a blocked shot by Long, Hicks hit a 3-pointer and Taylor added a free throw before Catonsville dented the scoreboard on a free throw at the 15:12 mark.

Catonsville (1-10, 0-5) crept back into the game as Latrell Alford warmed up, hitting for 10 points that helped knock the deficit to 35-31 at the break.

The Hawks were pushed early in the second half as the Cardinals knotted the score at 39 on a 3-pointer by Ernest McGill with 17 minutes to play.

Bright responded with a trey and the Hawks went on a quick spree to jump back to a 50-41 lead with 12:02 remaining.

"I told them to keep working at the stuff that worked for us," said Devlin. "It's a matter of being repetitive. There aren't any surprises. We got back to doing that (after the tie)."

From that point, Long and Taylor dominated inside and Bright hit two more 3-pointers.

The outside-inside force was consistent for the Hawks.

Complementing Bright, Long had 17 points and nine rebounds and Taylor added 15 points and 15 rebounds. Long missed only one of his seven shots and Taylor was 5 of 7.

"(John) had a hell of a game," said Devlin. "He was an inside presence. And (Will) just goes in there and scraps."

HCC was much warmer that the arena itself, hitting 27 of 49 from the field and holding an 11-point margin at the free throw stripe.

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