BEL AIR, Md.—The Harford men’s and women’s basketball teams returned to action for the first time in 2010 on Wednesday as they hosted MDJUCO conference-foe Allegany in a doubleheader at the Susquehanna Center. The Fighting Owls (3-7, 0-4 MDJUCO) women suffered a 71-39 loss at the hands of the Trojans (11-2, 5-0 MDJUCO), while the Fighting Owls (10-3, 4-1 MDJUCO) men pulled out an exciting, 78-74 win over the Trojans (9-5, 4-1 MDJUCO).
The women have lost six straight, including three games decided by less than five points, while the men have won four of their last five.
Freshman Alanza Brown (Chester, Va./Thomas Dale) had a career day for the Owls, putting up 21 points on 5-for-14 shooting from beyond the arc, while sophomore Kiara Reeves (Aberdeen, Md./C. Milton Wright) pulled down 10 rebounds and swiped seven balls on the night.
Jazmine Hatcher led Allegany with a double-double of 14 points on 7-for-13 shooting and totaled 13 rebounds to lead the Trojans.
On the men’s side, Harford saw five players score in double-digits, led by sophomore John Schwarz (Perry Hall, Md./Perry Hall/Mount St. Mary’s) who was just shy of a double-double with 15 points and nine boards on 6-for-13 shooting. Sophomore Jamar Cooper (Petersburg, Va./Petersburg) added 14 points, freshman JoJo Woodruff (Capitol Heights, Md./Wise) totaled 11 points, eight assists and three blocks, and sophomore Adam Earle (Bel Air, Md./C. Milton Wright) and freshman Dumone Leatherwood (Landover, Md./Jericho Christian) each tallied 10 points for Harford.
Aaron Brackett paced the Trojans with a double-double of 20 points on 9-for-14 shooting and 16 rebounds, while Dennis Bassich added 13 points and Marcel Chesson contributed 10 points and grabbed seven rebounds.
The women’s game saw Allegany take a double-digit lead for good about halfway through the first half, 22-12. The Trojans led by as many as 17 in the first, but some clutch free-throw shooting in the final minute by sophomore Brittany Mears (Forest Hill, Md./Fallston) and freshman Kelly Smith (Forest Hill, Md./Fallston) cut the lead to 13, 38-25 at the half.
Harford’s woes continued in the second half, fueled by their poor shooting performance, with the Owls making just five of 28 shots in the period, a 17.9% efficiency. For the game, Harford shot just 23.2% from the floor (13-56) as Allegany claimed the 71-39 victory.
On the men’s side, the Owls also struggled in the first half, shooting under 30% from the floor as the Trojans led by as much as 13. The Owls would battle back in the final two minutes of the half, coming within two points of Allegany, 34-32, after Cooper drained a 3-pointer with 56 seconds remaining. An Allegany layup would bring the lead back to four, but the Owls would have a chance to cut into that lead once more before the half, as they saw a 11-second differential between game and shot clock. Cooper let a trey fly with just seconds on the shot clock and 13 seconds on the game clock, but the Trojans corralled it and quickly pushed the ball up the floor as Chesson assisted Bassich on a fast-break layup to bring the lead to six, 38-32, as time expired.
Harford would flirt with the 10-point barrier on and off to start the second, but after Bassich tied the Trojans’ biggest lead of the half with a trey to make it 56-44 at 13:59, the Owls went on an 11-2 run over the next four minutes to cut the deficit to three, 58-55 at 9:57.
A 3-pointer by Earle at the 7:50 mark put Harford within two points and a split pair of free throws by Leatherwood made it a one-point game, 62-61 with 7:18 remaining.
A pair of free throws by Schwarz would have given the Owls their first lead of the game, but his second attempt was nullified after Harford was called for a lane violation, so the Owls settled for a tie, 62-62.
After trading layups the score was knotted at 64, before Jay Burke put the Trojans up by two with a jumper in the paint. Harford would push the ball down the court and Cooper would drain a long 3-pointer to give Harford its first lead of the game, 67-66 with 6:03 left on the clock.
After trading baskets, Brackett would make the backend of his two free throws to knot the score at 69, but a layup from Schwarz would give Harford a 71-69 lead, which they would not relinquish for the remainder of the game.
Two makes from the charity stripe by Schwarz would bring the lead to four points, 73-69 with 3:03 left and after a Trojan layup, Schwarz would tack on another jumper to maintain that lead.
A made free throw and ensuing Owl turnover would set Derrell Armstrong up for a layup at 2:08 to put the Trojans within one, 75-74, but freshman DaMonte Vales (Akron, Ohio/Firestone) would tally just his second bucket of the game at the 1:06 mark to bring the Harford lead back to three.
A missed 3-pointer by Chesson gave Harford the ball with 47 seconds, but a steal by Chesson with nine seconds left, gave Allegany a chance to come within one point. A controversial no foul call on Armstrong’s attempted fast break layup gave Harford the last possession and after missing his first shot on the ensuing foul, Cooper made it a two-possession game with two seconds left on the clock as Harford pulled out the 78-74 win.
Both the men’s and women’s Fighting Owls teams return to action on Saturday as they travel to Frederick for a doubleheader with the women tipping-off at 5:00 p.m. and the men following at 7:00 p.m.
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