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Hawks beat Harford, SI jinx with periodical play

January 17, 2009|By BOB PARASILITI

Many question the price of victory.

On Friday, the Hagerstown Community College women's basketball team found it's about three bucks -- the price of this week's edition of Sports Illustrated.

HCC coach Marlys Palmer stood there, swinging the rolled up periodical which would never lay flat again, against Harford Community College. It worked as Cara Thompson ignited the second half with two quick baskets and Valentina Wheeler finished it off as the Hawks ran off with a 76-42 victory to show the Owls who's boss at the HCC athletic complex.

"I about tore my Sports Illustrated to pieces," Palmer said. "I tried to get them to play with energy. That is the biggest asset of this team -- the energy and speed."

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Palmer spared no bookmarks at halftime, getting into a rant to get the Hawks (8-9, 5-2) in fast forward mode. The Hawks pushed into second gear to pull out to a 32-26 lead at the half.

"We usually start slow in the second half and (Palmer) was up there throwing magazines around to get us going," Thompson said. "She wants us to go out there and play like our hair's on fire."

Something had to heat up. HCC was so cold, it threw up enough bricks to build an igloo. The only things the Hawks had going for them were offensive rebounding and a press that forced enough turnovers to get enough shots to hope one would eventually fall in.

It was a different story in the second half.

Thompson opened by hitting a 3 from the top of the key to push HCC ahead by nine. She followed by scoring on a layup and then getting a steal and feeding it to Miranda Payne for a score to take a 39-26 lead.

"Once you get started and get a couple of shots to fall, you start picking up everywhere else and start getting it going on defense," Thompson said.

It worked as HCC scored the first eight and the first 24 of 29 points of the second half. Wheeler put the finishing touches on that run with three layups off steals coming off the Hawks' pressing defense, one coming off an assist from Thompson.

"You start getting caught up in the whole thing," Veronica Wheeler said. "My job is to stay out wide and then cut into the basket. I got a little energy. I started the game a little down because my grandfather just died (on Friday). It was hard, but I wanted to come out and do it for the team."

HCC continued to draw off of Palmer's halftime message as it continued to pull away to leads of 64-35 and 70-36 before coasting home with the Maryland JuCo Conference win.

"I wanted to make a point," Palmer said. "Most of these girls aren't used to losing and don't handle it well. I told them that I want them to be good to each other and do things that will make us all feel good ... good things to contribute to the game."

As a group, it worked out. HCC outrebounded Harford 40-23, with 27 of the boards coming on offense. The Hawks also forced 25 turnovers to give themselves more chances to spread goodwill.

Thompson led with 17 points and five assists while Veronica Wheeler had 10 points, 10 rebounds, three steals and four assists. Valentina Wheeler and Payne had 13 points each and Ricia Brown added 11 for HCC.

HCC 76, Harford 42
HARFORD COMM. COLLEGE

Mears 1 0-0 3, Jones 1 0-1 2, Lehnert 0 1-2 1, Spalt 5 5-8 15, Fox 1 0-0 2, Parsons 2 3-3 7, Reeves 4 4-6 12 Totals 14 13-20 42
HAGERSTOWN COM. COLLEGE (8-9, 5-2)
Brown 4 2-2 11, Payne 5 3-5 13, Ve. Wheeler 4 1-1 10, Pierce 1 0-1 2, Va. Wheeler 6 1-3 13, Morel 1 0-0 2, Thompson 7 1-1 17, Rhoderick 1 3-6 5, Williams 1 1-1 3 Totals 30 12-20 76.
Halftime -- HCC 32, Harford 26. 3-point goals -- Harford 1 (Mears), HCC 4 (Thompson 2, Brown, Ve. Wheeler)

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