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Women's Basketball: HCC reaches Region XX final

March 10, 2012

NORTH EAST, Md. — After 33 years of coaching, Marlys Palmer found a new coaching technique.

Lie.

It was a little white one, but it was all the incentive the Hagerstown Community College women’s basketball team needed to turn a dire situation into a 60-54 victory over Cecil Community College on Saturday in a Region XX tournament semifinal.

The second-seeded Hawks (26-4) overcame a 31-17 halftime deficit to earn the right to face top-seeded Chesapeake in today’s 2 p.m. final. The Skipjacks advanced with a 76-63 victory over Allegany.

It looked rather bleak for the Hawks as Cecil closed the first half with a 12-0 run to establish the 14-point advantage as the teams went to the locker room.

“I told them that this was a good time to be down. No one had won the game yet,” said Palmer. “I told them that we had been there before and came back. To be honest, the farthest we had been down the whole season was 12 points, but they didn’t know that ... It was a lie, but it helped.”

HCC fell behind as Cecil connected on five 3-pointers in the first half by just shooting over the top of the Hawks’ zone. A change of tactics turned into a change of luck.

“We couldn’t cover them in our zone and they knew how to take advantage of that,” said Palmer. “We had to man up (defensively). They weren’t expecting that.”

HCC opened the second half with a 6-0 run to move within eight points.

The Hawks’ uncharacteristic man defense took Cecil’s shooters out of the game. Jasmine Reynolds and Ashley Smothers went head up against the Seahawks’ Brianna Thomas, holding her to four points in the second half after 12 in the first 20 minutes. Kishia Jackson took Shantia White out of her game, allowing her just one second-half 3.

In the process, HCC battled back. Alessandra Flores hit all three of her 3s as the Hawks fought back

HCC used a 23-8 run to start the second half to take a 40-39 lead with 11 minutes remaining. The teams played evenly until the Hawks closed out the game at the foul line, where they scored their final seven points in the game.

Yolanda Pinkcett led HCC with 15 points and six rebounds, as HCC controlled the boards by a 32-26 margin. Flores added 14 points and six rebounds and Jackson had 13 points and six steals. Katie Sprecher added 12 points.

HCC hit 6 of 13 from 3-point range and 12 of 15 shots from the foul line.

Cecil was led by Thomas with 16 points.

The winner of today’s championship game will advance to the NJCAA Division II national tournament in Peoria, Ill.

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HCC 60, Cecil 54
CECIL COLLEGE (14-15)
Thomas 6, White 15, McQuaide 5, Ferbish 3, Butler 11, Smith 5. Totals 21 5-10 54.
HAGERSTOWN COMMUNITY COLLEGE (26-4)
Jackson 13, Sprecher 12, Reynolds 6, Pinkcett 15, Flores 14. Totals 21 12-15 60.
Halftime - Cecil 31, HCC 17. 3-point goals - Cecil 7 (White 3, Thomas, McQuaid, Furbish, Butler), HCC 6 (Flores 3, Sprecher 2, Jackson).

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