Earl Diddle wasn’t lying when he told his team every game will be decided by the last few possessions in Western Junior College Athletic Conference play.
While the last few possessions in the New Mexico Junior College game didn’t go exactly as planned, the last few in Howard College’s 74-71 win over No. 6 Midland Thursday earned them one of the biggest victories of the season.
“I think that’s the way it came down (Thursday),” Diddle said. “With about the seven-minute mark, I thought we got a burst of energy somewhere and we finished with a lot of sugar in our tank, we were up on our toes and I thought that’s what propelled us into the win.”
In what was a back and forth game, Tasha Tubbs and Taniqua Ards were huge for the Hawks, with 24 and 22 points, respectively.
Tubbs’ was virtually unstoppable from the 3-point line, going 8 of 12 from beyond the arc and continuously hitting big shots in the second half to keep Howard in the game.
Ards gave the Hawks that post presence they needed to get past Midland and she came up big in the second half, too.
Maybe none of Ards’ shots were bigger than the layup to give Howard a 66-64 lead with 2:23 left in the game. She was also fouled and completed the three-point play, which finally was enough to stave off the Lady Chaps.
Prior to that, Ards was a regular sight in the paint, scoring 12 of her points in the second half.
Midland head coach Ron Jones said it’s one of the main reasons his Lady Chaps weren’t able to hold on for the win.
“They got a lot of easier baskets than we did,” he said. “They got a lot of baskets in deep on us and credit to them getting the ball. They got easy baskets and they did a better job than we did.”
But Tubbs’ four 3-pointers in the first half and four in the second were a catalyst for the Hawks.
With Jermaine Winfield’s suspension being lifted and transfer Jason Walker being able to play, the Howard College Hawks had a little bit easier time dealing with depth Thursday night compared to Monday.
Instead of the five they had against New Mexico Military Institute, the No. 8 Hawks had seven players for their matchup against No. 15 Midland College.
The Hawks battled like they were at full strength, too. In the end, though, it was the Chaps’ Dwayne Davis who had the last word.
Davis’ 3-pointer with 25 seconds left sent the Chaps past the short-handed Hawks for a 67-63 win Thursday in Dorothy Garrett Coliseum.
The silver lining for the Hawks is they almost beat one of the best teams in the country with seven players, but a porous first half caught up with them. The Hawks were down 14 at the half.
“I was proud of our guys to fight back in the second half,” Adams said. We could’ve thrown in the towel at halftime, but they didn’t. I was pleased to see them respond being down 14 and making a game out of it. That’s what we want to do, keep it close and have a chance to win at the end, which we did.”
This week — this season for that matter — had been riddled by suspensions for Howard College. The latest were given to Johnnie Lacy, Winfield and Jerry Dixon for unspecified reason.
Winfield was able to play Thursday after missing the New Mexico Military Institute game and Walker, a transfer from Midland College and Big Spring native, finally got his first action as a Hawk.