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Bright's sunny day ends with Hawks' victory

January 17, 2008|By BOB PARASILITI

Kelvin Bright is a firm believer no sundae is complete with out a cherry on top.

Case in point came Wednesday.

The Hagerstown Community College guard was named the National Junior College Athletic Association national player of the week for his 38-point performance against Prince George's last week. That was sweet, but the completion of the treat came in the evening when the Hawks defeated Chesapeake.

Bright scored five points in a two-minute span late in the game to break a 78-78 tie and lift HCC to an important 87-80 Maryland JuCo Conference victory over the Seahawks.

"Actually, this was the perfect finish," Bright said after his 26-point performance to pace the Hawks. "First I got the award. It is definitely big because all the hard work is paying off. But it was big to hit the big shot in the end to get the win."

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It was bigger than it might look.

Chesapeake entered the game in first place in the Region XX Division I standings, followed closely by the Hawks (11-4). The win evened the teams for the top seed for the season-ending tournament with 6-2 marks, even though the game didn't possess all the cosmetic qualities that coaches love.

"It was an ugly win, but it's in the left column," HCC coach Ryan Devlin said. "It was ugly at times, but you can't knock it."

The game was a track meet for the first 57 minutes as transition was the key. Each team built sizable leads, only to give them away with flurries. There were 10 ties - five coming in the last 11 minutes of the game - and eight lead changes leading to the final three minutes.

HCC began working from the inside out to get the upper hand on Chesapeake. And when that happened, it gave the keys to the car to Bright.

"In the end, we were running a play that was looking inside to Will (Taylor) because we wanted to take advantage of his height advantage," Devlin said. "But when it wasn't there, the second option was to get the ball to the top of the key to Kelvin."

Bright responded with hard drives down the middle, complete with one-dribble power moves.

He was fouled on his first move to the hoop and hit one of his two foul shots to give HCC a 79-78 lead with 2:36 remaining. Bright followed with two 15-foot jumpers to give the Hawks a 83-80 advantage with 53 seconds remaining.

"We had a timeout with two minutes to go and Coach Ryan didn't say much," Bright said. "We knew it was time to come out and take over. We had to get a couple of starts.

"I'd like to say I got the opportunity to take control. The plays were to Will, but they came out and I flashed to the top of the key. I like to come in and use my athleticism to elevate over my opponents."

After Bright provided the lead, Q'Monte Matheny, a Martinsburg, W.Va. graduate, iced the game with the final four points to finish his 24-point night. Matheny moved into the starting role when point guard Calvin Johnson was ruled ineligible and has responded.

"He is a big sparkplug," Devlin said. "He hit some big foul shots for us and now he is our No. 1 guy."

HCC survived despite having Taylor and John Long, the starting front line, in foul trouble for much of the game. Chesapeake's Andrew Lee's slashes to the basket caused the Hawks trouble but the Seahawks failed to sustain, mainly because of a one-player bench.

Lee had 27 points while Barry Bratten added 18 for Chesapeake. Taylor finished with 18 for HCC.

"Both of our teams came in here short-handed. We both had to put up with the same situation," Devlin said. "We got flat and complacent after we went up big in the first half. But overall, we won."

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