Things are looking up for Owls basketball Freshmen spark a 5-5 start

December 20, 1992|By John W. Stewart | John W. Stewart,Staff Writer

Less than a month into its season, the Harford Community College men's basketball team has more than doubled last year's number of victories.

The Owls broke for the holidays with a 5-5 record, a far cry from last season's overall 2-18 mark.

Forward Matt Dontell (Fallston) is the lone holdover from that squad. That means he is surrounded by 11 freshmen making the mistakes of the inexperienced. At the same time, the group has size, speed and some scoring punch.

"We have some good young players and I'm pleased with where we are at this time," said Archie Skebeck, starting his fourth year as head coach after serving as an assistant for four years.

The Owls started the season with three straight wins, including a 103-97 decision at Anne Arundel Community College, the first time Skebeck had beaten the school. Despite the score, "we got some strong defensive play and made things happen," Skebeck said.

Another solid defensive effort came at Catonsville CC, when Harford overcame an 18-point halftime deficit for an 86-83

triumph.

"That was our best game of the year," Skebeck said. "We showed a lot of heart in coming back. We held Catonsville to 29 points in the second half, and when it was over, our players stood around and looked at the scoreboard. It was a great night for them."

Two things characterize this team -- balanced scoring and depth. Demetrious Harris (Aberdeen), Bill Simmons (C. Milton Wright), Trent Nichols (Joppatowne) and Dontell have double-figure scoring averages. Skebeck admits he does not have a starting five, instead going as many as eight or nine deep.

Dan Foxwell (Joppatowne), who came off the bench in high school, rated himself well down the list at the start of practice. A solid baseball player, he had had a busy summer, then HCC fall practice and didn't think he'd go out for basketball. "Trent talked me into coming out," he said.

"He's an example of what hustle and hard work can do," Skebeck said of Foxwell. "He is an excellent defensive player who worked his way into the starting lineup.

"At Catonsville, we did not have a starter [Terry Watters of Havre de Grace, out with an ankle injury], and Harris was hurt for much of the second half, but the others took charge."

The left-handed Harris, a 5-foot-7 dynamo, is the key player. He runs the offense and has had scoring nights of 37, 24 and 23. Against Catonsville, though, he was his side's fourth-high scorer with 13 points.

Instead, Nichols had four foul shots at the end and finished with 22 points, 16 rebounds and six blocks, and Dontell (a 6-2 swing player) had 20 points and seven rebounds. Last week, Harford lost home games to Philadelphia CC and Maryland Junior College Conference (National Division) rival Montgomery-Takoma Park, but spirits for the season still are high.

"Right now, our program is better than it has been, in quality and quantity," Skebeck said.

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