Hawks take sixth straight with win over New Mexico Military Institute

It's been another successful season for Howard College Men's Basketball. After opening Western Junior College Athletic Conference play with a 2-2 record, the Hawks have reached the apex.With Monday's 87-69 win over New Mexico Military Institute, HC — despite dropping two games to rival Midland College — sits atop the conference with a 12-3 record. The Hawks have won six straight and 10 of their last 11.“We were up by 26 at the half,” Adams said of the NMMI game. “We had a great first half offensively. The second half was the complete opposite. We didn't score well, we didn't defend well. When we are shooting well, it seems we play play defense well. They ran a 2-3 zone — we don't see that a lot during the season.”With the top seed in its clutches, HC Head Coach Mark Adams and his crew are ready to tackle the Region V Tournament in Lubbock. Last season, the Hawks made it to the regional championship game, but lost to South Plains College, who went on to claim the national title. Adams and his squad brought home a national championship in 2010. One player from that squad, Jae Crowder, is now on the NBA's Dallas Mavericks' roster.It's uncertain whether any of the current Hawks has what it takes to play in the NBA, but several are leading the WJCAC statistically.Averaging nearly 23 points per game, freshman Cameron Forte has been leading the Hawks — as well as ranking among the best in the nation at the JUCO level — in scoring. Forte also leads the WJCAC in field goal percentage and comes in at No. 2 in the steals category.Rico Richardson has handled the ball effectively for HC throughout the year. Richardson is among the top scoring point guards in the league and also ranks in the top five in assists.Ladon Carter ranks in the top five in blocks, averaging more than one per game.“I think we have more depth this year than the team that won it all,” Adams said. “I think we score just as well, but we aren't as solid on defense. We have to work on our defensive positions, get more rebounds and practice a lot of blocking out drills. That's been our Achille's Heel all season — our inability to rebound.”According to Adams, David Joseph, Jacob Thomas and Karim York are still suspended until further notice. It is unclear whether the trio will be suiting up for the regional tourney, which run from March 6-9.“I don't know if they will make it back on the team or not,” Adams said. “Right now, we're moving forward without them and I'm real proud of the guys we still have.”The suspension setback aside, Adams is pleased with the way his team has come together in the final weeks.“We only had three players back from last year,” Adams added. “It's always a struggle to get everyone on the same page. The chemistry is better now, I think they have grown up a lot in the past month.”The Hawks — as well as the Lady Hawks — will wrap up the regular season Thursday at the Dorothy Garrett Coliseum. The women (6-7) are slated to play at 5:45 p.m. with the men taking the court at 7:45 p.m.