Men's Basketball: Coach's fortitude adds amplitude to Hawks' effort

February 14, 2012|By BOB PARASILITI |
  • Hagerstown Community College's Kavon Pyatt (10) tries both phyiscal and vocal defense to contest the shot of Dundalk's Alfonzo Hawkins on Tuesday during the Hawks' 100-75 victory.
By Ric Dugan/Staff Photographer

HAGERSTOWN — The Hagerstown Community College men’s basketball team needed some inspiration to come up with the needed perspiration on Tuesday.

The Hawks were lethargic for much of the first half of their 100-75 victory over Dundalk in the opening round of the Maryland JuCo tournament at the HCC athletic complex.

Top-seeded HCC was allowing the 16th-seeded Lions to hang around a little too long. It all changed when HCC assistant coach Curtis Graff did his best Elgin Baylor impression and arrived fashionably late to the game.

“That’s the story of this game,” HCC coach Barry Brown said. “If Coach Graff can show up here after finding out he has pneumonia, we can keep playing hard. We didn’t play with enough energy in the first half, but they really picked it up when Coach Graff showed up. It seemed to inspire them.”

Graff sneaked on to the end of bench with HCC (23-4) leading 37-36 about 1:30 to go in the first half. From there, the Hawks closed with a 9-4 run — all nine scored by Alister Chisholm — to pull away for a 45-39 lead at intermission.

Chisholm scored the first two points of the second half before turning over the bulk of the scoring duties to Antonio Jenifer and Devin Miller. HCC opened the second half with a 13-6 run to move to a 58-45 lead and kept Dundalk (5-20) at bay the rest of the way.

“Coach Graff calls our defenses and when he showed up, everything changed,” Brown said. “It lifted part of our game. The guys just responded to him.”

With the victory, HCC advances to play the winner of Anne Arundel and Montgomery Rockville on Friday at 5 p.m. in the quarterfinals at Frederick Community College.

Graff is the architect of a defense that Brown calls “an ameba on steroids” which allows HCC to concentrate pressure on the ball and passing lanes. Once it took hold, it knocked Dundalk out of its game and into a fit of miscues to turn the game lopsided.

The big surge came at the end of the first half, though, when Chisholm hit two free throws, a pair of layups and a 3-pointer (with 1.2 seconds remaining) in the final 77 seconds of the half to give HCC some breathing room. He had 15 of his 19 points in the first 20 minutes of play.

“Alister just played tremendous in the first half, especially in that stretch,” Brown said. “Then, in the second half, it was Devin and Tony. We made some adjustments at the half and got the ball inside more. We had to commit to capitalizing on the inside.”

Jenifer scored 15 of his game-high 23 points and Miller added 10 of his 21 — mostly in the paint — in the second half as HCC pulled away.

HCC led by as much as 27 when Kavon Pyatt score on a layup off a Tione Womack pass for a 98-71 advantage with 1:22 remaining.

Raymar Watson added 17 for HCC, which hit 10 3s in the game. The Hawks held Dundalk’s Alfonzo Hawkins, who led Maryland JuCo in scoring with 26.9 points per game, to 16, while Victor Vaughn led the Lions with 18.

HCC 100, Dundalk 75
DUNDALK (5-20)
Hawkins 16, Graham 11, Saunders 2, Gray 10, McDonald 14, Vaughan 18, Knezovic 4. Totals 32 8-10 75.
Womack 6, Pyatt 5, Tarver 6, Chisholm 19, Miller 21, Jenifer 23, Boyd 1, Clerius 2, Watson 17. Totals 36 18-29 100.
Halftime — HCC 45, Dundalk 39. 3-point goals — Dundalk 3 (Vaughan 3), HCC 10 (Miller 4, Chisholm 3, Watson 2, Pyatt). Fouled out — Dundalk (Gray).

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