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Men's Basketball: Hawks save day against Knights

February 03, 2013|By JACK HILL III | jack.hill@herald-mail.com

HAGERSTOWN — The Hagerstown Community College men’s basketball team couldn’t handle success on Saturday.

The Hawks had an 18-point lead against Essex and let the Knights get back to within two in the second half.

But HCC recovered and pulled away for a 92-82 victory over the Knights in a Maryland JuCo Conference game at the HCC athletic complex.

“We just had to grind it out,” HCC coach Barry Brown said. “They were just not going to quit. I give Essex a lot of credit. Mike Francis, who has been a friend of ours for a long time, announced before the game tonight that he was retiring as Essex coach at the end of the season. That motivated their team. We played a pretty solid game, but we had to pick it up defensively at the end of the game. We were able to do that.”

The Hawks (22-2, 13-1), who are ranked 12th in the NJCAA national poll, held a 66-48 advantage over Essex (6-15, 3-9) with 10:54 remaining.

The Knights gave the Hawks a run for the money, going on a 21-5 over the next 4:26 to slice the lead to 71-69 with 6:28 to go.

The Hawks bounced back with a 21-13 run to close out the game, led by Antonio Jenifer, who had team-high totals of 19 points and 11 rebounds.

“It was a big win for us,” Jenifer said. “We are on a mission this year. Last year, we came up short at districts. We are just trying to get over the hump this year.”

Jenifer’s first basket in the game gave him 1,000 career points at HCC.

“It was a blessing and it made my day,” Jenifer said. “My teammates were happy for me. I have come a long way here at Hagerstown and I am just trying to make my family proud of me. I’m just blessed to be a Hawk. Hagerstown Community College has really changed my life and made me a better person.”

Antwan Pittman added 17 points, including five 3-pointers, while Christian Leach had 14 points and five steals for the Hawks. Junius Thomas collected 13 points, eight rebounds and five steals, while Kervin Rameau added 10 points and eight rebounds.

Shawn Bozier, Essex’s only sophomore, scored a game-high 20 points for the Knights.

HCC is tied with Baltimore for first place in the loss column in the Maryland JuCo standings with one loss each. HCC hosts Baltimore on Wednesday at 6 p.m. in a game which may decide the regular-season champion.





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