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Garrett College of Garrett County came into the Hawks season opener undefeated but the College of Southern Maryland’s women’s basketball team ended that streak with the 64-39 victory in its first league game of the season on Friday.

Taylor White, a freshman forward from North Point, finished with a team-high 22 points and Hawks head coach Andrew Norris said he’s happy with her presence under the basket as well as her jumping abilities.

The Hawks had a 34-16 halftime lead and held Garrett to just 11 total points in the second half. Garrett had just five players suited up and ready to play and halfway through the second half freshman Rodrina Thorpe-Shepperd fouled out of the game and Garrett finished with just four out on the hardwood.

“I didn’t really know what to expect, I knew they were 3-0 coming in,” Norris said. “We just wanted to come out and start the league season off the right way.”

The Hawks maintained the lead throughout and began to push away 50-18 midway through the second half.

The team is being lead by White, returning point guard Morgan Jordan, who averaged 11 points a game last year, guard Alex Manning, forwards Braedyn Mims and Carly Flowers and sophomore guard Whitney Jones.

Norris said he likes to play an up-tempo style but he’s revamping things to fit the roster that he has this season and a change will depend on the team’s desire to compete at the collegiate level and how fast any transitions will take place.

“With the personnel that we have, we’ve gone to a slower tempo and have been playing more of a possession type game,” Norris said. “We’re playing good possessions on both sides of the court and sort of grinding it out. If you’d seen us a week ago, you would have seen us flying up and down the court. The coaching staff was talking a little bit and we’ve decided this suites our personnel a little more.”

Norris said he was happy, overall with his team’s shot selection but some chances got by them and the second half got a little sloppy, with the comfortable lead.

“We missed some opportunities to pound the ball, especially when we got the ball in the short corners,” Norris said. “I was very pleased with the first half. Taylor White is tough inside. She’s so long and gets to a lot of shots. She jumps so well. I thought Alex Manning and Whitney Jones, our little guard played well tonight. She’s been coming along pretty well these last two weeks.”

Norris said he’s seen improvement from his team in the last two games, but they’re working on putting 40 total minutes together.

“We’re learning to compete and some of the girls don’t understand what it means to compete at this level on a night in night out basis,” Norris said. “Every play is important and if we do this, we will be competitive and be much-improved from last year. We have some really good kids here, we just have to keep them competing on every play, every possession.”

Alan Hoyt coached his men’s team to a 69-61 win over Garrett following the win by the women. Sophomore guard from Poplar Bluff Devon Brown lit up the court and came alive for the Hawks when he hit from the three-point line to tie the game up 56-56 with 5:42 remaining. Garrett pressured the basket and jumped back out to a four point lead, but the Hawks slammed the door finally and went on a 10-point run due in large part to another three-pointer from Brown.

Sophomore guards Sedric Baker and Troy Cummings were impact players down the stretch for the Hawks as well.

Hoyt said he had seen some film of Garrett but his main concern was his own team as they had struggled in their past two games against Potomac State and Beaver County. The Hawks fell 91-84 to Potomac State and 90-69 to Beaver County.

“We had that mind set of coming out and playing hard and I think we got that back on track today,” Hoyt said.

The Hawks improved to 3-4 overall with the victory and Hoyt said the team’s biggest improvements were seen on the defensive end.

“We gave away a lot of layups in the past six games,” Hoyt said. “We just made Garrett make tougher shots.”

Hoyt said his team is learning the new system and the growth process may be an all-year thing.

“It’s just being able to react to the basketball when it’s dribbled or passed and moving on the pass instead of on the catch so that way they’re on time,” Hoyt said, “but it’s a process and we’re trying to get it as fast as we can.”

tshowalter@somdnews.com