NORTH EAST—Cecil College struggled on both ends of the floor during the first half of its Maryland JUCO men’s basketball contest Saturday as visiting Hagerstown Community College dictated the tempo over the opening 20 minutes.
That changed in the second half as the Seahawks communicated more on the defensive end and passed more on the offensive end en route to outscoring the Hawks by 15 points after the break to earn a 79-66 victory.
“It was a team effort. It was just communication. That was our issue in the first half. They were going by and nobody was stepping in,” McKale Williams, who had a game-high 19 points, said. “I feel like, as a team, we communicated better and had each other’s back more in the second half.”
Cecil College entered the second half trailing 33-31. It shot 31 percent from the field and allowed Hagerstown to make 46 percent of its shots in the first half, but the Seahawks came out after the halftime break with a renewed focus and started the frame on a 12-5 surge to take the lead for good at 43-38.
While the Hawks pulled within a three points after Kyshon Tate made a pair of free throws, Cecil College steadily pulled away from that point, building its lead to 18 points at 69-51 with 2:30 remaining in the game. It held Hagerstown to just 35 percent shooting in the second half by contesting more shots.
The Seahawks finished the game with a 20-9 advantage in assists, with the majority of those helpers coming in the second, Their ability to keep the ball moving in the second half led to those numbers.
“We swung the ball. We didn’t hold the ball in the second half this time,” Williams said. “That was what coach preached at halftime, that we were holding the ball, so wanted to swing the ball and get open shots. When we swing it, it makes the defense work, and everybody gets to score.”
Head coach Ed Durham was happy with the Seahawks’ shot selection after it made 19 of 32 shots from the field in the second half.
“We were getting people in the right spots and making plays, getting them in that area. I was most proud of the fact we shot the ball more efficiently,” Durham said. “We shot 60 percent in the second half. We didn’t settle for threes like we did in the first half. We went 2-13 in the first half. I would take 0-3 in the second half if we’re going to be that efficient inside and being in attack mode.”
Cornell Corbin and Shylier Ringgold chipped in 15 and 10 points, respectively, for Cecil.
Hagerstown was led by Malcolm Moye’s 16 points