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Hawks look to a strong defense for success

After a 12-12 season and a loss in the quarterfinals of the Region XX Tournament in the 2018-2019 season, the Hagerstown CC Hawks Women's Basketball team are looking to improve this season.

Story by Phil Marshall

"We had a lot of injuries last season and some kids were out for a while," Head Coach Bernie Semler said. "I was happy with how we played despite the injuries; our team didn't fold at all."

Coach Bernie Semler is set to begin his 15th season as head coach of the Hawks. Semler, a 1990 graduate of the University of Arizona in Exercise and Computer Science, is looking to use his coaching experience to take the 2019-2020 Hawks to another level. Semler spent many years coaching at the high school level but predominantly at Boonsboro High School from 1993-2005 and played there from 1961-1965.

"I have learned that defense is the most important thing when it comes to basketball," Semler said. "Last year we primarily won games because we stressed defense and rebounding."

Semler's defensive mentality will be taken on by seven freshman and three sophomores this season and the team will have to adjust to Semler's craft.

"Everyone just wants to score and run really hard on the offensive end of the floor," he said. "Getting back on defense is where they haven't found a niche yet but hopefully over time, we can improve on that."

With only three players returning from last season, the responsibility to get the freshman prepared for a new lifestyle is one of the biggest adjustments.

"This team has bonded, and they all get along with each other," he said. "This is a plus in the women's game and I appreciate that they show up every day and work as hard as they can."

Semler also emphasizes the importance of academics off the court. He sees academics as one of the biggest challenges facing the freshman.

"Keeping our players academically eligible is the most important thing in this entire process," he said. "The first semester is always hard on the freshman because they have to learn to do things on their own for the first time while juggling the balance of eating, resting, playing and maintaining good grades."

The goal for this team is to simply win but Semler is confident that the Hawks can compete with anyone in the conference.

"At the end of the day, I just want these girls to become a better basketball player by the end of the season," he said. "Five years from now, no one will remember your record, but they will remember the faces that play on the team."

Semler's biggest goal is not only for the team to succeed but also see them take their basketball careers outside of Hagerstown CC.

"I want to see these kids grow and advance to a four-year school," he said. "Not only that, but I also want them to succeed academically."

The Hawks will begin their season at home on Wednesday November 6 against Chesapeake College at 6:00PM.