HAGERSTOWN —The Hagerstown Community College men’s basketball team is trying to take things in stride.
But now, the Hawks are trying to make those strides a lot slower than they used to.
The pace was quick but the offense was more deliberate and efficient on Friday as HCC used more of a team concept to grab a 94-57 victory over the Davis & Elkins JV team in the nightcap of the Larry Sharp Tip-Off Tournament at HCC’s athletic complex.
“I was very pleased with the way we came out and worked the ball around,” said HCC coach Barry Brown. “We played good basketball and everyone got to play today. Our subs got the chance to play some significant minutes. I saw a lot of good things and it gives us something to build on. It’s all step by step.”
D&E, a four-year school in the West Virginia Conference with a first-year JV program, may have been the perfect opponent for the Hawks (2-0). The Senators were much smaller and used a combination of zone defenses to slow the pace, which allowed HCC to use its improved halfcourt game.
The Hawks passed the ball around looking for better shots, a vastly different approach than the past when it seemed like the first player past midcourt with the ball would shoot.
“We approached the game well,” Brown said. “When you play a team like this, you don’t want to play into bad habits. D&E made us play and they played hard.”
The Senators were mismatched physically as HCC took the early lead and was never threatened. The Hawks scored the game’s first 12 points before D&E hit a pair of 3s to get back into the game.
HCC slowly pulled away and used a 12-2 run over seven minutes — keyed by four points each by Devin Miller and Antonio Jenifer — to take a 36-18 lead with 3:00 to go in the half. The Hawks led 45-26 at the half.
The Hawks put the game on ice by scoring 24 of the first 28 points in the second half to take a 69-40 lead with 12:00 remaining. Miller hit all three of his 3-pointers in the stretch.
“This was good because we worked the ball and reversed it,” Brown said. “We are playing the percentages and looking for the best shots. Then you get those 3s like Devin was hitting when he got hot. But first we have to get hot before we can take them.”
Miller led the Hawks with 19 points while Malcolm Clark had 15 and Kayvon Pyatt added 13 with six rebounds and four steals.
D&E’s Nic Hammond led all scorers with 21 points as the Senators hit nine 3s in an attempt to stay competitive.
In the opener, The Thomas School, a prep school from Albany, N.Y., shocked Cecil 88-86 as Jonathan Gray scored 28 points.