Lions' coach replays pain of tough loss to Hammond


February 28, 1993|By Gary Lambrecht | Gary Lambrecht,Staff Writer

It was hard enough for Howard girls basketball coach Craig O'Connell to watch from the bench, while his Lions collapsed in the second half against Hammond on Thursday.

Watching the tape of Hammond's 50-48 victory -- a game the Lions led by 16 points with 90 seconds left in the third period -- was doubly tough.

In the first half, the Lions hit 17 of 27 shots (63 percent), including numerous attempts with defenders in their faces.

When Camille Powell (five-for-five in the first half) hit a half-court bomb at the buzzer to give the home-standing Lions a 36-18 lead at intermission, it looked like Howard's day.

So much for cushions. After taking a 46-30 lead late into the third period, Howard saw the Bears charge back with the comeback of the year.

The Bears went on a 20-2 run over the final 9:40 to pull out the victory and hand Howard its first home defeat this season. Hammond did it with better man-to-man pressure, and by shooting the way Howard did in the first half.

The Lions shot 4-for-25 (16 percent) in the second half, scored two points in the fourth period and went without a field goal for the final 11 minutes. And they missed every shot imaginable, including five layups in the final two minutes.

"I kept thinking all we need is one basket to slow them [Hammond] down, but it never came," O'Connell said. "Each time Hammond made a basket, it put a little more pressure on us to make one, and we started forcing shots. It was very difficult to watch the tape."

Howard's cold shooting aside, Hammond rallied behind its money player, point guard Kacy Williams (10 points, nine rebounds, four assists, three steals) and its greatest weapon -- depth.

Tameka Harrison (14 points), Kristen Moraz (10), Sonia Keiner (five), Tiki Nicholson (five) and Kellye Townsend (five) all hit big shots during the Bears' decisive run. And the Bears dominated Howard on the boards down the stretch.

"Fatigue definitely was a factor," said O'Connell, who played six players against Hammond's nine. "When you get tired, you don't think clearly and you tend to stand around. We did a lot of that in the second half.

"All the credit goes to Hammond, though. They hit so many big shots, and that shot [Powell's buzzer beater] has to break you. We're home, we make a shot like that to go up by 18 at the half, we should win."

O'Connell took consolation in the defeat, and for good reason. The first time the Lions played Hammond last month, Hammond whipped them, 58-44. The second time around, Howard handled the Bears for 23 minutes before losing a heart-breaker. Plus, last week the Lions upset county champion Mount Hebron. O'Connell wants to stress that progress as Howard heads into this week's Class 3A, Region III playoffs.

Watch out for Atholton

It's early to begin projecting possible boys basketball contenders next season, but we'll do it anyway. Look out for Atholton.

Last year, the Raiders, after graduating their starting five the year before, struggled to a 2-20 season. This year, the Raiders improved to a respectable 10-12, 6-8 in the county. And Atholton is returning some promising talent.

Sophomore Brian Benden (12.2 points, 2.4 assists) did a capable job at point guard, and led the Raiders in scoring. Sophomore 6-3 forward D. J. Chiles averaged 9.4 points and 5.9 rebounds. Junior 6-2 forward Tony Stewart (8.6 points, 5.7 rebounds) already is one of the county's better leapers.

Solid juniors like Danny Garrison and Jason Albert also figure to return. And the Raiders should get some quality help from a junior varsity that went 19-1 this year. The best of that group might be freshman point guard Tyrone Almond.

Scholarship news

Mount Hebron senior Kai Scott, the county's top setter who led the Vikings to their third consecutive state volleyball title and was an All-County choice, has signed a letter of intent to attend University of Texas at San Antonio on a full scholarship.

Mount Hebron's Tierney Clark, last fall's field hockey Player of the Year, has received a scholarship at Hofstra University.

Ryan Grimes, an Ellicott City resident who played defense for the St. Paul's lacrosse team that went 17-0 and won the Maryland Scholastic Association A Conference crown last spring, headed to Hofstra on a scholarship.

Paul Brosenne, the running back who rushed for over 1,400 yards and led Glenelg to its first playoff appearance in seven seasons, is headed to Shepherd College (W.Va.) on a scholarship.

And Jason Beall, who joined Brosenne on the All-County team last fall and will probably be named to the All-County basketball team, has received a grant-in-aid from Washington & Lee University (Va.). Beall plans to play football and basketball there.

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