HAGERSTOWN—Marlys Palmer and the Hagerstown Community College women’s basketball team had traveled this route before.
The only difference this time was they were the passengers instead of the drivers.
HCC took advantage of Garrett Community College’s undermanned team and used pressure defense to wear the Lakers into submission in a 68-40 Maryland JuCo Conference victory on Wednesday at the HCC athletic complex.
“We were on the same road last year,” Palmer said. “We didn’t have a full team last year and we got tired. Tonight, we had a full complement of players. We had no one sick and we used them all.”
And it was every bit of overwhelming for the Lakers, who only had seven players on their roster.
HCC (12-3, 5-2) used three different trapping defenses to run Garrett all over the floor and take the Lakers’ legs away from them.
The Hawks held Garrett to 17 points in the final 25:30 of the game as HCC came from behind to tie the game at 23-23 with 5:30 remaining in the first half before jetting away to the 28-point victory.
“We were ice cold shooting in the beginning,” Palmer said. “We decided to make the defense more aggressive to see if we could make things happen.”
Garrett scored the first eight points of the game and took early control of the game behind Alice Abiya, who scored 10 of Garrett’s first 19 points en route to 16 in the game.
Yet, Abiya was the pointer on Garrett’s fuel tank for Palmer.
“We started out in a 3-2 press, and she was getting free in the middle,” Palmer said. “But I knew she was getting tired. I could see it in the final five minutes of the half because she had a tough time keeping up with the flow. When you don’t have a lot of players, the legs tend to go.”
HCC overcame the early deficit to forge three ties before Casey Roberts scored off a rebound with 2:39 remaining in the first half to give the Hawks a 27-25 lead they never relinquished.
“In the first six minutes of the second half, we played probably the best we have all year as a team,” Palmer said. “We have been a little slow coming out in the second half. It usually takes us forever to get going. But we came out and played well as a team in that first six minutes.”
HCC opened the second half with a 17-2 run to put the game away as the Lakers continued to fade. Turquoia Johnson scored six of her 10 points in the run as HCC pulled out to a 46-27 lead.
The Hawks led by as many as 32 points in the second half.
HCC had 11 of its 12 players score, led by Tasha Caldwell with 12, including two 3-pointers. Alessandra Flores and Johnson had 10 each while Yolanda Pinkcett led with seven rebounds. Jalesa Johnson led Garrett with 18 points.
HCC 68, Garrett 40
Brandon 1 0-0 2, Williams 2 0-2 4, Johnson 7 3-7 18, Abiya 8 0-0 16. Totals 18 3-9 40.
HAGERSTOWN (12-3, 5-2)
Johnson 5 0-0 10, Jackson 1 0-0 2, Brown 2 0-0 4, Rogers 1 4-4 6, Malott 1 0-0 2, Marquiss 1 0-0 2, Reynolds 4 0-0 9, Caldwell 5 0-0 12, Pinkcett 3 0-0 6, Roberts 2 0-2 5, Flores 4 1-2 10. Totals 29 5-8 68.
Halftime — HCC 29, Garrett 25. 3-point goals — Garrett 1 (Johnson), HCC 5 (Caldwell 2, Flores, Roberts, Reynolds). Rebounds — HCC 48 (Pinkcett 7), Garrett 41. Turnovers — Garrett 26, HCC 10.