n the early stages of its season, the Hagerstown Community College men's basketball team has been very efficient shooting the ball.
Entering Saturday's non-conference matchup against Richard Bland, HCC was shooting 54.3% from 3-point range and 80.8% from the foul line.
The Hawks put on a shooting clinic in the first half against the Statesmen, building a 27-point halftime lead en route to an 80-68 win.
"This is the first time we've been 3-1 since I've been here," said HCC fourth-year coach Bernard Hopkins. "Defense was clicking and guys just got hot shooting the ball."
HCC's first-half performance was summed up in a span of three minutes late in the half.
With the Hawks leading 36-26, guard Tyrin Hollis stole the ball and scored on a layup with 5:47 left. On the next four possessions, HCC connected on four straight 3-pointers to make it a 14-0 run and give the Hawks a 50-26 lead with 2:50 remaining.
"The biggest thing is that in practice, we shoot a lot," Hopkins said. "The game of basketball is making shots and we practice shooting a lot."
In the half, the Hawks connected on 9 of 12 shots from beyond the arc and 7 of 8 on free throws.
"As a team, we were making the extra passes," Hopkins said. "The guys were making that second and third pass."
The second half was a much different story for HCC as Richard Bland held the Hawks to just seven points in the first 10 minutes, cutting the HCC lead to 63-50.
Despite struggling to shoot for much of the second half, the Hawks were able to string together baskets on four straight possessions along with two free throws to make it 74-50 and force a Richard Bland timeout with 6:16 remaining.
"I knew (Richard Bland) was going to come out and make a run," Hopkins said. "We just had to be patient. We went from making extra passes and doing the little things, to playing iso ball."
Out of the timeout, the Statesmen subbed out four starters, but the reserves led a late charge and outscored HCC 18-2 over the next 5:41 to cut it to 76-68 with 35.2 seconds left.
That was as close as it got as Hollis made a pair of free throws and Wiggins had a layup late to close out the win.
"Overall, we held through," Hopkins said. "We had a big enough cushion, and at no point did I think we were going to lose the game. We've just got to stay focused."
Rodney Black had 15 points, 11 rebounds and three blocks to lead HCC, while Hollis had 13 points, three assists and four rebounds. Dwight Felton had 12 points off the bench, and Kyshon Tate added eight points, seven rebounds, two steals and two blocks.
"I'm happy because we've been playing well against some good out of conference teams," Hopkins said. "We set goals for this year and it feels good to be where we're at."