Hammond wins by a half, 50-48

February 26, 1993|By Gary Lambrecht | Gary Lambrecht,Staff Writer

Hammond looked like a team with a split personality yesterday. And with defeat staring them in the face at Howard, the visiting Bears showed their best side by charging back from a 16-point third-quarter deficit to stun the Lions, 50-48.

The Bears (17-4, 12-2) probably would like to forget the first half, when they watched Howard (16-6, 10-4) light up its gym with a shooting exhibition and take a 36-18 halftime lead on Camille Powell's half-court shot at the buzzer.

What Hammond coach Joe Russo won't soon forget is the fury his defending 2A champions displayed down the stretch. During the last 9:40, Hammond outscored Howard 20-2 to hand the Lions their first home loss of the season.

The Bears caught the tiring Lions with 1:58 left on an 18-footer by Kristen Moraz, who tied the score at 48. Hammond then took its first lead with 1:26 left, when Kacy Williams grabbed an offensive rebound and made a layup. The Bears made the 50-48 lead stand up, despite missing three free throws, and Howard missed its final five shots.

Like Hammond, Howard also took a 180-degree turn. Problem was, the Lions hit a dry spell at the worst time. After frustrating the Bears with constantly changing defenses and shooting 17-for-25 in the first half, Howard caved in against Hammond's man-to-man pressure in the second half. The Lions did not score during the final 11 minutes and were outscored 15-2 by Hammond in the fourth quarter. Howard had 12 points in the second half.

"Mr. Russo laid us out at halftime," said Williams, who scored 10 points, grabbed a team-high nine rebounds and added four assists and three steals. "We let them [Howard] take possession of us in the first half. All we did in the second half was hustle more, think more and be more aggressive."

"In the first half, it was like we had a big-screen TV and we were watching Howard play basketball. We were watching them instead of playing with them," Russo said. "I won't tell you what I told them [at halftime]."

Tameka Harrison led Hammond with 14 points. She added four rebounds and three assists. Moraz had 10 points and four assists. Sonia Keiner had six points and eight rebounds.

Camille Powell led Howard with 15 points, including only four after intermission.

The victory sent the Bears into next week's 2A Region II playoffs on a high note. Hammond is seeded second and will receive a first-round bye. The Bears expect to play host to third-seeded Mount Hebron in the regional semifinals Thursday.

Howard will be seeded fourth in the 3A Region III playoffs. The Lions will play host to a sixth-seeded opponent yet to be determined in a first-round game Tuesday.

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