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Rockville finds HCC on a roll

February 11, 2009|By CHRIS CARTER

Exactly one month ago, Hagerstown Community College women's basketball coach Maryls Palmer questioned whether her team could finish the season with a winning record.

This morning she likely woke up with another question: Who's next?

Hagerstown wrapped up the regular season in dominant fashion Wednesday night, commanding a 70-39 rebounding edge to post an 82-35 victory at the HCC athletic complex.

The Hawks will enter the Maryland JuCo Tournament next week having won nine of their last 10 games.

"We're a different team now than we were back in December," Palmer said. "We play better together and I would say that's the big thing. We've been trying to just focus on helping each other and being positive and supportive on the floor and on the bench."

The Hawks (16-10) were 7-9 after an overtime loss to North Hampton on Jan. 11 - when the idea of finishing with a .500 record started looking uncertain. But the Hawks regrouped and won their next seven games to put those doubts to bed.

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"It looked ugly for a lot of games," Palmer said. "A lot of frustration and a lot of problems coming together as a team. ... But this team really had a lot of growth. You don't always have a lot of individual growth on a team in just one little season, but this team turned themselves around."

Hagerstown was going in the right direction for all of their home finale. The Hawks scored the first 11 points of the game while holding Rockville (7-13) scoreless until the 11:32-mark of the first half.

Rockville hit just 5 of 37 field goals in the first half, after which it trailed 39-15.

"This is the last home game for a whole nest of sophomores and we just wanted to go out with a bang," Palmer said. "We wanted to play with energy and represent really well and I think they did that."

Appropriately enough, the sophomores shined. Valentina Wheeler had 21 points, 12 rebounds and five assists, Cara Thompson drained four 3-pointers and finished with 18 points and Shawayna Morel had 12 points and 24 rebounds - two boards shy of a the school record set by Vanessa Stone in 1986.

Morel also had seven steals and four assists while Miranda Payne - one of only two Hawks freshmen - added 11 points.

Abi Daigne had 14 points and Michelle Hutson added 11 for Rockville, which used only six players.

Hagerstown will be the second seed in the JuCo tournament, which will be held from Feb. 19-22 at Prince George's Community College. The high seed earns the Hawks a first-round bye and their first opponent is yet to be determined.

Hagerstown 82, Rockville 35
ROCKVILLE (7-13)

Daigne 4 5-8 14, Hutson 4 0-0 11, Grimmit 1 0-0 3, Famen 1 3-4 5, Abdou 1 0-0 2. Totals 11 8-12 35.
HCC (16-10)
Brown 4 0-0 8, Porter 1 0-2 2, Payne 3 4-4 11, Ve. Wheeler 3 2-2 8, Va. Wheeler 9 1-2 21, Morel 5 2-4 12, Thompson 6 2-2 18, Williams 1 0-0 2. Totals 32 11-16 82.

Halftime - Hagerstown, 39-15. 3-point goals - Rockville 5 (Daigne, Hutson 3, Grimmit); Hagerstown 7 (Payne, Va. Wheeler 2, Thompson 4).

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