Howard College's Leon Cooper shoots a short jumper during the Hawks' game with Midland College Monday evening. (HERALD photo/Tony Claxton)
MIDLAND â€” Some things should just be assumed when Howard College and Midland College meet on the basketball court â€” defense will rule the day; the winner will be celebrating a hard-fought win; and the loser will be left regretting missed chances.
Monday night's doubleheader at Chaparral Center followed that script perfectly as Midland took a pair of defensive battles against the Hawks, prevailing 59-53 in the women's game and 66-60 in the men's contest.
Howard's men fell to 13-4 overall and 2-1 in Western Junior College Athletic Conference action, while the women's team dropped to 14-5 and 1-1.
Howard returns to action at home Thursday against Odessa College. The women tip off at 5:45 p.m., followed by the men's game at 7:45 p.m.
Midland 59, Howard 53
Pick almost any statistic, and the Hawks had the better of Midland Monday night.
Almost any stat.
Midland's defense limited Howard to a miserable 28 percent field goal percentage, which more than negated any other advantage the Hawks had.
Despite that, however, the game was decided until the final moments.
Howard led early, but the Lady Chaps scored the last nine points of the first half to take a 25-17 lead into intermission.
Midland (16-5, 2-1) stretched its lead into double digits in the second half before the Hawks rallied in the late stages. Three-point shooting â€” the Hawks canned six long-range jumpers during the game â€” allowed Howard to cut Midland's lead to 53-46 with less than three minutes remaining.
But Midland's defense did not allow the Hawks to get much closer than that the rest of the way.
Kalie Jerrell scored 14 points and Zeslie Johnson added 13 to lead the Hawks. Danesha Long led a trio of Midland College players in double figures with 15 points.
HC Coach Earl Diddle said Midland's defense and early foul trouble spoiled his team's chances for success Monday.
â€śFor the most part, I was proud of the way we played,â€ť Diddle said. â€śBut I thought we didn't shoot the ball well, and we got into foul trouble in the first half, and that just killed us.â€ť
Despite the Hawks' struggles, Diddle believed the game was still the Hawks' for the taking.
â€śI thought it was a very winnable game. We did some things very well,â€ť he said. â€śBut we gave up 12 second-chance points â€¦ We didn't concentrate very well and we gave up too many easy baskets in the second half.â€ť
Midland 66, Howard 60
Statistics usually don't tell the entire story of a game, but one stat in particular proved to be fatal to the Hawks' chances at winning.
Forced into using a smaller lineup because of a lack of interior depth, the Hawks ceded a large 44-28 rebounding edge to the Chaps. That statistic in particular proved to be the difference Monday.
HC Coach Mark Adams said an ankle injury to reserve post player Chad Posthumus forced Howard to go with a guard-heavy lineup against the taller Chaps.
â€śWe knew that would be our biggest challenge â€” finding a way to keep them off the boards,â€ť Adams said. â€śThe biggest difference (in the game) was our inability to rebound and possess the ball on both ends of the floor.
â€śA lot of the credit has to go to Midland,â€ť Adams added. â€śThey needed the win more than we did, and they definitely proved it.â€ť
Despite their huge advantage inside, the Chaps didn't start pulling away from Howard until the second half, when they built a 14-point lead with less than six minutes remaining. The Hawks rallied to cut the lead to 52-45 less than a minute later, but Midland responded by pushing its lead back to double digits and holding on for the win.
Shavon Coleman and Calvin Godfrey each scored 13 points for the Hawks. Kelvin Agee led Midland (13-4, 1-2) with 19 points.
Adams hopes the Hawks can put this loss behind them before they return to action against Odessa Thursday.
â€śIt's frustrating when you lose close games like this, but it's still early in the conference race,â€ť he said. â€śI just hope our group has the character and determination to get this thing turned around.â€ť
HOWARD (60) â€” Jerry Dixon 2-7 4-5 8, Leon Cooper 1-2 4-4 7, Rico Richardson 0-4 0-0 0, Jacob Thomas 4-11 2-2 12, Calvin Godfrey 5-8 3-5 13, Phillip Miller 2-6 0-0 6, Shavon Coleman 5-11 3-6 13, Damion McGee 0-5 1-1 1, Zech Smith 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 19-54 17-23 60
MIDLAND (66) â€” Colan Weasby 0-3 2-2 2, Willis Nicholson 1-3 5-6 7, Tre Bowman 4-12 5-6 13, Mike Taylor 3-7 1-1 8, Kelvin Agee 7-13 4-5 19, Majok Majok 0-2 2-4 2, Anthony Norris 5-9 1-2 11, Brandon Lucas 2-3 0-0 4, Melvin Tabb 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 22-52 20-26 66
Halftime â€” Midland 25, Howard 23; Three-point goals â€”Howard (Miller 2, Thomas 2, Cooper), Midland (Agee, Taylor); Total fouls â€” Howard 26, Midland 22; Fouled out â€” none; Technical fouls â€” Dixon, Nicholson, Agee; Rebounds â€” Howard 28 (three with 4), Midland 44 (Majok 8, Norris 8); Assists â€” Howard 5 (Richardson 2, Coleman 2), Midland 8 (Agee 3); Turnovers â€” Howard 21, Midland 27.
HOWARD (53) â€” Porsche Young 0-6 2-2 2, Kali Jerrell 6-15 0-0 14, Tori Tucker 1-4 0-0 2, Zeslie Johnson 5-14 3-3 13, Kelli Merrick 1-5 2-2 4, Marion Lemonnier 2-11 0-0 6, Carolyn Taylor 3-12 0-0 8, Brushea Daniels 3-12 0-0 6, Ja'Keyma Williams 1-1 0-0 2. Totals 20-70 77 53
MIDLAND (59) â€” Bernadette Sanchez 1-1 0-0 2, Darnetta Jackson 2-6 3-3 7, Anfisa Shulha 0-6 2-2 2, Armani Wiley 0-0 0-0 0, Alexis Kelley 0-1 0-0 0, Shola Adebayo 1-2 0-0 2, Morgan Schwartz 2-4 0-0 4, Danesha Long 5-10 5-8 15, Ornela Bacchini 5-6 2-2 12, Achiri Ade 4-7 2-3 10, Nety Sousa 2-2 1-2 5. Totals 22-45 15-20 59
Halftime â€” Midland 25, Howard 17; Three-point goals â€” Howard (Jerrell 2, Taylor 2, Lemonnier 2); Total fouls â€” Howard 17, Midland 11; Fouled out â€” Taylor; Rebounds â€” Howard 39 (Johnson 6, Daniels 6), Midland 38 (Ade 11); Assists â€” Howard 11 (Jerrell 3, Lemonnier 3), Midland 10 (four with 2). Turnovers â€” Howard 14, Midland 21.
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