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Fermin stays true to his word

HCC sophomore scores at the buzzer as Hawks edge Frederick

HCC sophomore scores at the buzzer as Hawks edge Frederick

January 07, 2009|By BOB PARASILITI

There might be only one thing stronger than Amaurys Fermin's move to the basket.

It's his word. Hagerstown Community College men's basketball coach Earl Redden got all the proof he needed of Fermin's convictions on Wednesday.

"He told me before the season that he would not let us lose," Redden said.

No hot air here. Fermin was true to his syllables when he used the final possession of the game to put up the winning layup as time expired to help the Hawks pull out an 81-79 victory over Frederick Community College at the HCC athletic complex.

It came after Fermin had two shots blocked on the previous possession, resulting in a game-tying dunk by Frederick's Efe Odigie with 11.4 seconds remaining as the Hawks gave away a 10-point lead over the last seven minutes to get to the dramatic point.

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The final play came down to Fermin's call.

"I wanted the last shot," Fermin said. "It might sound selfish, but if I had the ball and (Frederick) closed in on me, I knew I could pass it off for someone else. I've been in that situation before. I wanted us to have the last shot."

Fermin, who spent much of the evening weaving through Frederick's defense to create situations, took a calculated route to the basket.

After Odigie's dunk, the sophomore from New York City brought the ball up the right sideline, almost looking to see if Redden was going to call time. But Fermin cut to the top of the key and sliced down the right side of the lane, lunging to the baseline as he released his shot.

The ball hit the glass and went through the hoop as the red backboard lights ignited, signaling the end of the game.

"It was winner take all," Fermin said. "I thought I got hit as I took the shot, but I knew I wasn't going to get a call like that at the end of the game."

As it turned out, Redden's best coaching decision was deciding to stay out of the final play.

"I wasn't going to call timeout," the first-year coach said. "I didn't want to give Frederick the chance to set up their defense. Our guys knew enough to keep the floor spread. Anyone on the floor had the green light to take the open shot."

It was an exciting ending to what was a efficiency-challenging game.

Both teams showed rust after long holiday layoffs. HCC (13-3) didn't look sharp offensively and, at times, Frederick looked winded and out of sync, especially at the end of the first half.

HCC came back from a 31-28 deficit in the final seven minutes of the first half, using a 20-7 run to take a 48-38 halftime lead. The Hawks found the right path with K'yan Andrews coming off the bench to lead the way with seven points. Any misses were cashed in by Isiah Hill with weakside rebounds.

"K'yan was a warrior for us," Redden said. "He did about as much as he could do and Isiah, you couldn't have asked any more from him."

HCC maintained the 10-point bulge for much of the second half until the Cougars (5-8) found a little energy. DeJae Dorsey scored four points to start the comeback before Odigie finished with four, including the tying dunk.

"We kind of started settling and taking them for granted and they started coming back," Fermin said.

Andrews led HCC with 17 points while Hill added 16 and Jordan Brooks had 15 for HCC. Dorsey led five Frederick scorers in double figures with 18.

But it came down to the final two of Fermin's 12 to seal it for the Hawks.

"He's a tough player and has played some of the toughest competition who are now playing at Division I schools around the country," Redden said. "He definitely has the savvy to do that."

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