Hawks score a big early-season win against Cecil

November 05, 2011|By BOB PARASILITI |

HAGERSTOWN — Devin Miller started what he finished and finished what he started on Saturday.

The Hagerstown Community College sophomore gave a bookend-type performance. He got off to a quick start and closed with an emphatic ending for 33 points, while the Hawks played some tough defense in the middle for an 87-74 victory over Cecil on the second day of the Larry Sharp Tip-Off Tournament at the HCC athletic complex.

“I’m proud of the offensive performance. He really carried us in the first half and he finished it off in the end,” said HCC coach Barry Brown. “Jerel Carter played a great floor game and Tony Jenifer gave us a presence inside to keep them playing honest.”

It all added up to a big win for HCC (3-0) in just its third game of the season. Cecil provided the Hawks their toughest competition to date and forced them to work the defense and come from behind for the first time this year.

“It’s been a while since we beat them,” Brown said of Cecil. “It might be back as far as when my dad was coaching. They beat us twice last year. In recent history, Cecil has been one of the powers in Maryland JuCo and this is a huge win for us.”

It didn’t come easily.

Miller scored six of HCC’s first 18 points for an early 18-5 advantage. Cecil kept up the challenge and started to cut into the Hawks’ lead.

The Seahawks used a 14-5 run in the final 5:30 of the half to take a 42-41 lead at the intermission. Brandon Bobb-Jones scored five points in the stretch.

Cecil scored the first basket in the second half, then got stuck in the glue of HCC’s press-style defense.

“We played more of a three-quarter to full-court defense in the second half,” Brown said. “We really used our depth and I think they lost their legs. Some other guys really stepped up in the second half.”

HCC went on a 19-7 run to take a 60-51 lead with 12:36 remaining, as the Hawks used the defense to generate steals and strongly rebounded the Seahawks’ tired shots.

Jenifer scored six points in the flurry and Raymar Watson added four to help put the Hawks ahead.

HCC continued to pull away and finished the Seahawks off as Miller scored 15 points — including the last of his five 3s — in the final 10 minutes. The Hawks pushed the lead to as many as 14 the rest of the way.

Jenifer finished with 18 points, while Watson had 13 for the Hawks. Khaalis Coppock-Bey led Cecil with 18 points.

“This was another good game for us because they played zone and forced us to adjust against them,” Brown said. “We have to get used to that. This was just a huge win for us.”

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