From the HCC sports desk:
BEL AIR, Md.—The Harford women’s basketball team earned its first conference win, as the Fighting Owls (4-10, 1-6 MDJUCO) downed visiting Cecil, 66-47, on Saturday at the Susquehanna Center. The men’s team gave No. 7 Cecil all it could handle, but fell just short, 100-99, in an overtime thriller during the Saturday doubleheader.
With the win over the Seahawks (3-11, 1-5 MDJUCO), the Harford women snapped a nine-game losing streak and won their first home game of the season while the Fighting Owls (10-6, 4-4 MDJUCO) increased their downward skid to three straight games with the loss to the Seahawks (15-1, 9-0 MDJUCO).
Freshman Tiffany Smith (Abingdon, Md./John Carroll) was just two steals away from a triple-double, as she posted 10 points, 16 rebounds and eight steals on the day. Freshman Alanza Brown (Chester, Va./Thomas Dale) led Harford with 16 points and added five rebounds, while sophomores Brittany Mears (Forest Hill, Md./Fallston) and Kiara Reeves (Aberdeen, Md./C. Milton Wright) totaled 15 points and eight rebounds and 12 points and nine boards, respectively.
Cecil’s Sarai Nathaniel led all scorers with 18 points, while both Kayla Chambers and Ratisha Sweatt tallied double-doubles for the Seahawks as Chambers totaled 14 points and 19 rebounds and Sweatt added 13 points and 13 rebounds on the day.
In the second half of the double-header sophomore John Schwarz (Perry Hall, Md./Perry Hall/Mount St. Mary’s) had a career-day, totaling 31 points and 19 rebounds on 15-for-28 shooting, while sophomore Jamar Cooper (Petersburg, Va./Petersburg) added 21 points and dished out eight assists. Maurice Johnson tallied a double-double for Cecil with 23 points and 21 rebounds, while Gabriel McNeal led the Seahawks with 28 points.
In the women’s game, the two teams would be evenly matched to start, but an 11-1 Harford run after a 7-7 tie would give the Owls their first double-digit lead of the game, 18-8 with 7:10 left in the first. Harford would extend the lead to 20 points with less than a minute left, but the Seahawks would cut the lead to 16 by the end of the half, 33-17.
Cecil would manage a single-digit deficit just once during the second stanza as Harford cruised to their first conference win, 66-47.
On the men’s side, neither team managed to pull away for very long as the first half saw four ties and 11 lead changes, with Cecil holding a slim, 49-43 lead going into the break.
The Seahawks would hold the lead for the majority of the second half until an 8-0 run over 1:29 gave Harford its largest lead of the half, 78-74 with 4:47 remaining.
The game would be tied three more times before time expired, with the final tie of the period, 84-84, occurring with 59 seconds left and neither team would score in the final minute to send the game to overtime.
The Seahawks would score the first bucket of the extra period at the 4:25 mark and would build that lead to six points, 94-88, with less than a minute left on the clock.
A jumper by Cooper would cut the lead to four, 94-90, with 44 seconds left, before a split pair of free throws put the Seahawks up by five, 95-90 with 33 seconds to go.
Cooper came through again, this time with a 3-pointer that made it a two-point, one-possession game, 95-93 with 28 seconds on the clock, but a pair of made free throws on the ensuing Cecil possession would increase the deficit to four-points with 24 seconds left.
Harford would miss its chance to cut into the lead during its next possession and the Seahawks would take a five-point, 98-93, lead after Johnson buried his first free throw with 15 seconds left.
Johnson’s second try would miss its mark, but Cecil would get the ball after what the officials called a Harford touch, seemingly ending the Owls’ chances. A Cooper steal off the inbound would give Harford hope, however, as sophomore Troy Burgan (Akron, Ohio/North) notched a lay-up to make it a three-point game, 98-95, with eight seconds left.
A Cecil over-and-back violation and turnover by McNeal would give Harford a chance to tie, but Cecil would send Cooper to the line before he got a chance to attempt the tying shot. The sophomore would miss the first and bury the second to make it a two-point game, 98-96, with six ticks left, giving Harford a chance if Cecil did not sweep the ensuing free throws. McNeal, buried the free throws, however to remain a perfect 6-for-6 from the stripe on the night and essentially seal the win for Cecil, 100-96 with four seconds left.
Cooper would drain a last-second 3-pointer, but wouldn’t draw the foul as Harford fell in overtime, 100-99.
Both Fighting Owls teams return to action on Wednesday as they host Montgomery College-Rockville in a doubleheader, which will be taped by the local Harford Cable Network. The women tip-off at 5:30 p.m. with the men to follow at 7:30 p.m