Hawks rally past Ca­tonsville

Se­cond half key to vic­tory for men’s hoops team

Maryland Independent - - Sports - By TED BLACK tblack@somd­news.com

After open­ing the sea- son with a dif­fi­cult stretch of games de­signed to ben- efit the team in the long run, the Col­lege of South­ern Mary­land men’s bas­ket­ball team broke open a tight con­test late in the se­cond half en route to a 97-93 vic­tory over Com- mu­nity Col­lege of Balti- more County Ca­tonsville on Mon­day night in a Mary­land Ju­nior Col­lege Ath­letic Con­fer­ence con- test.

CSM (2-5, 2-1 MDJU- CO) and Ca­tonsville (52, 1-2) re­mained close through­out much of the se­cond half as the Hawks lead hov­ered around three points for the open- ing 10 min­utes. Even a three-point field goal by CSM’s David Fran­cis was im­me­di­ately coun­tered by one from Ca­tonsville’s Mon­tague Wright which kept the Car­di­nals within 69-66 with nine min­utes left.

But the Hawks fi­nally gained some breath­ing room cour­tesy of a 10-3 run that gave the hosts an 85-73 lead with four min­utes re­main­ing. CSM head coach Alan Hoyt, a Great Mills High School grad­u­ate, had al­ready seen his team squan­der a 16-point lead in a loss at Po­tomac State (W.Va.) and an eight-point lead in a set­back to Gar­rett Com­mu­nity Col­lege, so he be­gan to get a lit­tle un- easy when the Car­di­nals mounted a late rally.

“We were up by 16 at Po­tomac State with about four min­utes left and let that one get away,” Hoyt said. “Then we had an eight-point lead against Gar­rett in the se­cond half and couldn’t put them away ei­ther. Tonight we had to find a way to fin­ish. We prob­a­bly could have made a few more free throws to­ward the end.”

CSM owned a 45-43 ad­van­tage at the in­ter­mis­sion thanks to a healthy ad­van­tage at the freethrow line, which only widened as the game pro­gressed.

The Hawks con­nected on 17 of 27 free throws (63 per­cent) in the first half, com­pared to the Car­di­nals go­ing 5 of 10 in the open­ing 20 min­utes. Those num­bers were al­most iden­ti­cal in the se­cond half. CSM hit 17

of 27 free throws in the se­cond half as well, while the Car­di­nals were 8 of 16 from the line over the last 20 min­utes. The Hawks hit 34 of 54 foul shots (63 per­cent) on the night, com­pared to the Cardi- nals’ 13 of 26 shoot­ing at the stripe.

Yet, after the Hawks traded bas­kets with the Car­di­nals over the next three min­utes and still owned a 95-83 lead with less than a minute to play, the hosts nearly al­lowed the visi­tors to grab vic­tory from the jaws of de­feat.

Everette Coker con­nect- ed on a three-point field goal and Wright added an­other and Coker added a tap-in off a missed free throw to bring Ca­tonsville to within 96-93 with nine sec­onds re­main­ing.

Levon Ran­dall, a Thom- as Stone High School grad­u­ate from Wal­dorf, then hit the se­cond of two free throws to give the hosts a four-point lead with 5.6 sec­onds left and Ca­tonsville failed to get off an­other shot. But the last minute of the con­test had seemed too eerily sim­i­lar to pre­vi­ous out­ings that CSM failed to se­cure.

“For a few min­utes there it was get­ting too close for com­fort,” Hoyt said. “We needed to make an­other free throw or two. We also had to stop foul­ing and turn­ing the ball over. We’re a young team and we’re get­ting bet­ter. We have a lot of tal­ent on this team, but we’re still young. Those early games against real- ly good op­po­nents got us ready for game like this tonight.”

Trevon Porter, a Great Mills High School grad­u­ate from Lex­ing­ton Park, got to the free-throw line of­ten in the first half for CSM, hit­ting on 6 of 8 from the stripe, while Do­minic Espeleta, a West- lake High School grad­u­ate from Wal­dorf, and Ran­dall each hit a three­p­oint field goal in the first 20 min­utes. In the se­cond half, Espeleta, Fran­cis and An­thony Wil­liams, a North Point High School grad­u­ate from Wal­dorf, each made four free throws and Fran­cis added his lone three-pointer of the night.

Dur­ing the piv­otal 10-3 run that en­abled the Hawks to forge their first of four 12-point leads, An- to­nio Tavares, a Hunt­ing­town High School grad­u­ate from Ch­e­sa­peake Beach, scored two buck­ets in­side and Jor­dan Bat­tle, a Thomas Stone High School grad­u­ate from Wal­dorf, added a bucket and two free throws.

Ca­tonsville also watched three of its starters foul out dur­ing a 75-se­cond span late in the se­cond half, but it nearly pulled off an im­prob­a­ble rally with­out them.

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