In recent years, the College of Southern Maryland men's and women's basketball teams had often been on opposite ends of the spectrum. This winter, both Hawks squads have lofty goals for the 2019-2020 campaign that has already gotten under way.
Through the first two weeks of the season, the Hawks men are 1-4 and have participated in five genuine shootouts. They have only been outscored 477-453 in those five contests, an average of just under five points per game, with the squad forging a 98-95 overtime victory over ASA Brooklyn Avengers of New York in the finale of the three-day CCBC-Dundalk Mixer on Nov. 3 for its lone tally.
"Offensively, we have a lot of speed and athleticism," said CSM men's head coach Alan Hoyt, a Great Mills High School graduate. His team will face Cape Fear (N.C.) and Mercyhurst North East (Pa.) this weekend in the Montgomery College Tip-Off Classic. "We can get up and down the floor. There are going to be some days where we get into the 100's."
In the victory over the Avengers, Warrick Godwin led the Hawks with 25 points and Lelan Eackles (a St. Mary's Ryken High School graduate from Waldorf) added 21. Reserves Armon Williams and Devin Thomas (a Westlake High School graduate from Waldorf) contributed 14 and 12 points, respectively, while Desha Curtis and Shawn Barclay (a Thomas Stone High School graduate from Waldorf) each had 11. That victory was sandwiched between four losses, three of them by single digits.
"We are always planning for the region tournament and the national tournament and that's how those are set up — three games in three days or four games in five days," Hoyt said. "Those games give us an opportunity to travel and be together and to play teams outside of our are to get us ready."
In the Hawks most recent contest, a 99-98 setback to Louisburg (N.C.) in the finale of the two-day Roger Taylor Classic in North Carolina, Eackles led the way with 27 points, while Thomas had 13 and Godwin, Barclay and Williams added 10 points each. One night earlier, the Hawks suffered a 97-90 setback to Brunswick College (N.C.) despite 26 points from Godwin, 24 from Eackles and 12 more from Curtis. CSM trailed 49-36 at the intermission but rallied to make things interesting in the second half.
While the men have been very busy, the CSM women's basketball team is 1-0 after it opened the season with a 55-52 victory over Bryant & Stratton of Virginia on Nov. 8.
The Hawks were led by freshman Karalina Lawrence with 17 points and 11 rebounds, while Amaya Yancey had 13 points and Imani Holloway and Maranda Carey had seven each. The team's next contest was scheduled for Wednesday game with the Community College of Philadelphia, but was rescheduled to Nov. 19, so CSM will have an 11-day layoff between its opener and second game of the season.
CSM led through much of the opener before Bryant & Stratton embarked on a late surge to claim a 47-42 lead with just over three minutes remaining. The last stage of the game belonged to the Hawks, who closed out the contest on a 13-5 run to get the three-point victory. It was a game that offered a good blend of good and bad aspects for the CSM women.
"We really shot ourselves in the foot a lot," CSM head women's coach Ardell Jackson said. "We would turn the ball over, we allowed them to go on a late run and we had a lot of unforced turnovers. I felt good about them because they really showed that they can actually play defense and hold a team and grind a game out."
CSM sophomore Katelyn Kluh, a La Plata High School graduate from La Plata who just completed her second season with the Hawks volleyball team, admitted the season-opening victory over Bryant & Stratton provided an immediate confidence boost and validated the team's dedication and skill sets.
"It really felt good to be able to win that first game," Kluh said. "This is a hard-working group of talented players and it really meant a lot to all us to win that game. We have a lot of confidence that this will be a very good season. The talent and the dedication is definitely there."