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Men's Basketball: Jenifer helps Hawks' cup runneth over

January 21, 2012|By BOB PARASILITI | bobp@herald-mail.com

COLUMBIA, Md. — Antonio Jenifer is the Hagerstown Community College men’s basketball team’s version of a bartender.

He knows just the right way to keep the Hawks’ “cup” filled at all times.

On Saturday, Jenifer went straight to the tap. He provided HCC a needed aggressive edge in the second half with strong moves to the basket on Saturday to help HCC draft a 76-72 Maryland JuCo Conference victory over Howard.

“I was just trying to keep my team in the game to win,” Jenifer said. “I had to tell them that we had to stop shooting jumpers. If we wanted to win, we had to take it to the ‘cup.’”

The cup is slang for basket and HCC’s was seriously looking like a dead soldier.

The Hawks (17-3, 10-0) started strongly despite a vastly different looking starting lineup. Jenifer and Alister Chisholm were missing from the starting five and didn’t take the floor until the 12:39 mark of the first half for what coach Barry Brown called “sending a message to make sure everyone does everything right.”

HCC held an 11-7 lead when Jenifer and Chisholm took the floor, but shortly fell victim to a 14-3 Howard run to fall behind 21-14 with 6:02 remaining in the half.

The Hawks battled back, using nine points by Jenifer in the final stretch of the half, to grab a 30-30 tie at the break.

“I missed the first half because of the ‘situation’ I was in, and I came off the bench, so I had to warm up,” Jenifer said slyly. “Coach told me to be ready to play in the second half.”

HCC scored the first eight points of the second half and began to take some control. Raymar Watson and Jenifer started to establish an inside presence to get the Hawks started.

“Jenifer and Watson played huge in the second half,” Brown said. “And Kavon Pyatt sparked us when we needed it. He and Tony and Ray were the difference for us today. Jenifer set the tone with his strong moves to the basket.”

Jenifer scored two strong baskets inside as HCC moved to a 44-37 lead with 13:42 remaining. The lead grew to 64-51 on a Watson 3 with 8:05 left before the Hawks started to do things the wrong way again.

The Dragons (8-10, 4-5) started a furious comeback to get within 72-69 with 32 seconds remaining as HCC became careless with the ball and moved back to jumpshot mode.

Chisholm dunked to start a three-point play with 16.5 seconds left and added a foul shot with 2.4 seconds to go to ice the game.

“Alister is the guy we send in to win games,” Brown said. “He was struggling today and thought he was done when I took him out of the game the last time. But with about three minutes to go, I walked over to him and said “Alister, it’s time to go win the game.”

Jenifer led HCC with 18 points while Chisholm finished with 15 and Devin Miller added 14. Leo Rogers led Howard with 14 points.

“We stopped settling for jumpshots and attacked the rim in the second half,” Brown said. “Howard is a good team that has been playing well so we knew we would have a tough time on the road. It always comes down to rebounds, foul shooting and defense. We won, but we have to be more consistent.”

HCC 76, Howard 72
HAGERSTOWN CC (17-3, 10-0)
Womack 4, Carter 8, Pyatt 4, Chisholm 15, Miller 14, Jenifer 18, Pittman 2, Watson 11. Totals 28 12-22 76.
HOWARD CC (8-10, 4-5)
Olugbile 6, James 10, Oyefusi 5, Sullivan 6, Bellamy 11, Peters 12, Jones 5, Rogers 14, Vester 3. Totals 26 15-26 72.
Halftime — HCC 30, Howard 30. 3-point goals — HCC 8 (Watson 3, Jenifer 2, Miller 2, Pyatt), Howard 5 (Peters 4, Bellamy).

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