by Brian Turrel
The Harmon Hawks won the Baldwin Invitational Tournament, defeating the host team 42-38 Saturday evening in the championship game. The Hawks are hitting their stride as the season nears the mid-point, with a six-game winning streak.
The game opened slowly with the teams scoring only 10 combined points in the first quarter. The Hawks used dribble penetration with a kick out to the wings to open up their shooters, and Chrishaud Berry hit 2 three-pointers to account for all the team’s points.
The action opened up in the second quarter with each team netting 16. Lynell Lane hit 2 threes in the frame, and Berry and Eddie King each knocked down one, contributing to Harmon’s 22-20 halftime lead.
In the third quarter, Berry and King each hit another three, and Jamarrion Evans found opportunities to get to the rim for three buckets. Harmon briefly opened up a 7-point lead, but the Bulldogs closed within 4 at the end of the quarter.
The fourth quarter saw some gamesmanship from the Hawks. They held a 4-point advantage, so when Baldwin didn’t send a defender to pressure Evans, he calmly dribbled the ball near the half-court line, burning almost three minutes from the game clock.
Baldwin’s coaches fumed and the student section jeered, but the Hawks’ point guard maintained his station while precious time for a Bulldog comeback slipped away. When the clock dipped down to three and a half minutes, Baldwin finally pressured Evans, who responded with a drive to the basket.
Baldwin had only one foul on the board at that point. To slow the game and force Harmon to make free throws, the Bulldogs had to foul several times in succession to push Harmon into the bonus.
The Hawks hit just enough to keep a narrow lead. Jason Rodriguez hit a free throw with 2 second remaining, giving his team a 4-point lead and preventing any last-second heroics from the home team.
Berry scored 14 points to lead the Hawks, including 4 three-point baskets. Evans scored 10, and King and Lane each added 7.
Harmon beat Wellsville and Augusta in the opening rounds to earn their place in the championship. Lane, Evans, and King were each named to the all-tournament team.
After an 0-3 start, Harmon’s record now stands at 6-3. They will play at Shawnee Mission West on Friday, Jan. 28.