Howard CC tops Rhode Island in tournament opener, 82-68

March 12, 1993|By Tom Worgo | Tom Worgo,Contributing Writer

The Howard Community College men's basketball team had two goals going into its first national junior college tournament appearance this week at the State University of New York at Delhi.

The first was to place higher than fellow Division III, District V representative Montgomery-Germantown did the past two seasons. The Griffins were seventh of eight schools last year and eighth in 1991.

The second goal was to win two games. That would result in a No. 4 ranking nationally in Division III with a 23-6 record.

The Express is halfway toward the second goal.

Howard (which has won 17 of its past 19) defeated sixth-ranked Community College of Rhode Island, 82-68, yesterday in the first round of the tournament. Rhode Island (23-7) finished third in the nationals last year and second in 1991.

"We are not satisfied with just being there," said Howard coach Wheeler Brown, who has guided the Express to a 79-37 record in four seasons.

"We have a goal in mind that we want to finish in the top three. We are shooting for that. But if we are playing the kind of basketball we are capable of, then I think we can play with anyone.

"And we feel like the last couple of years, the team representing the district didn't do that well. We hope we can be a better indication of the kind of basketball that's played in the region. I think we are peaking at the right time as opposed to last year. We started out fast last season and amassed a lot of wins. Consequently, the kids' legs were dead by the end of the season."

"I think we are one of the favorites," said Howard sophomore point guard Brian Parker, who ranks second in Division III in scoring (27.5 ppg), and averages 9.5 assists. Parker, a first-team all-Region XX selection, has attracted interest from nine schools, including Towson State and UMBC.

"I feel we are playing like champs, but we could step our game up a couple of notches," he said.

The Express stepped up its game in the Region XX tournament last month. Howard trailed Columbus State CC (Ohio), ranked as high as sixth nationally earlier this season, by 12 points in a first-round game Feb. 26 with five minutes remaining.

But the Express rallied, winning 70-68 on reserve forward/center Damon Sterling's basket with 10 seconds left.

Howard defeated Montgomery-Germantown, 95-78, Feb. 27 in the championship game of the Region XX tournament to advance to the national tournament. One week earlier, top seed Howard lost to Prince George's CC, 104-86, in the first round of the Maryland JuCo tournament.

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