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Men's Basketball: Watson answers call, puts HCC into JuCo final

February 18, 2012|By BOB PARASILITI | bobp@herald-mail.com

FREDERICK, Md. — The alarm went off for Raymar Watson on Saturday.

It was just hard to tell if is was a wakeup call or the opening of a starting gate.

It didn’t matter. Watson gave Baltimore an unexpected game to deal with as he buried five 3-pointers en route to a 27-point outburst to lead the top-seeded Hagerstown Community College men’s basketball team to a 100-78 victory in the Maryland JuCo Conference semifinals at Frederick Community College.

“Ray Watson ... he was tremendous. Just tremendous,” HCC coach Barry Brown said. “We have been waiting for him to have a breakout game and he went off today. And there was no better time for him to do it.”

The 6-foot-6 sophomore led HCC’s decisive second-half run by hitting three straight 3s in a 2-minute, 10-second span. The Hawks (25-4) used a 19-4 run to expand a 65-60 lead with 12 minutes remaining to an 84-64 runaway in a matter of 5 minutes, 10 seconds.

Watson scored 11 points in the run that ultimately pushed HCC into today’s 3 p.m. championship game with against the Allegany-Cecil winner.

“It’s the Maryland JuCo,” Watson said. “I just felt it, big time. I was just waiting for the time to release the beast. To be honest, the points don’t matter. The big thing was the win.”

And it was elementary with the help of Watson.

The Hawks pulled off the win despite playing without their sparkplug — Alister Chisholm — who missed Saturday’s game with a knee injury he suffered during Friday’s quarterfinal win over Rockville. HCC missed Chisholm’s sizzle, but made the necessary adjustments.

“I told (Chisholm) at the beginning of the game that I would hold down his side of the floor,” Watson said.

He did it in effortless fashion as point guard Tione Womack found Watson in rhythm for open shots.

“(Watson) doesn’t have the experience of some of the others have in organized basketball,” Brown said. “His learning curve has been excellent. He just relaxed, played in the system and let the game come to him.”

Fourth-seeded Baltimore tested HCC throughout the first half as the two teams battled through five ties and nine lead changes through the first three-quarters of the first half. Watson helped with two 3s out of the right corner to keep the Hawks in the game.

“I had a mismatch,” Watson said. “(The defender) wasn’t as quick as I was and it made me want to step my game up.”

The Hawks were forced to cope without the main cogs of their inside game as early foul problems benched Antonio Jenifer (at the 15:27 mark) and Watson (at 5:32). Devin Miller hit a 3 with 4:23 to go in the half to put HCC ahead for good at 37-35, just before he left with his second foul.

“That was the pivotal part of the game,” Brown said. “We had to go to a small lineup and changed from our zone to man pressure. It bothered (Baltimore). We knew we were going to have Tony and Ray coming back in the second half fresh.”

With the three bigger men on the bench, the ploy allowed HCC to close on a 14-7 run as Womack took control by scoring the Hawks’ final six points for a 51-42 halftime lead.

Watson scored HCC’s first six points of the second half before Jenifer added the next five at the Hawks took a 62-52 lead with 15 minutes remaining. Baltimore powered to the basket to cut the deficit to five before Watson went on his 3 spree.

HCC led by as many as 25 points the rest of the way.

Watson added 12 rebounds to his totals while Jenifer finished with 22 points and Miller added 15 points. For the second straight game, Womack dominated at point guard with 16 points, 11 assists and five steals.

Carlos Smith led Baltimore with 21 points, but it paled against the motivated Watson’s standards.

“I love big crowds and I get excited and hyped,” Watson said. “It’s Maryland JuCo time ... It’s my time ... It’s the Hawks’ time and the time for Hawks Nation.”

HCC 100, Baltimore 78
BALTIMORE
Williams 4, Jenkins 2, Wright 6, Goines 7, Farr 17, West 11, Smith 21, Stuckey 10. Totals 32 10-15 78.
HAGERSTOWN COM. COLLEGE (25-4)
Womack 16, Carter 2, Tarver 7, Miller 15, Jenifer 22, Booyd 2, Pittman 7, Clerius 2, Watson 27. Totals 37 15-20 100.
Halftime — HCC 51, Baltimore 42. 3-point goals — Baltimore 4 (Smith 3, Stuckey), HCC 11 (Watson 5, Miller 3, Tarver, Jenifer, Pittman).

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