Mylique Sutton Photo by Pat Trosky. Alex Akabogu (22) wins the tipoff.
In the final moments of their game against Penn State Beaver, Hazleton appeared to have things wrapped up but a final bucket with barely any time left on the clock put the score at 80-79 and sealed the fate of the home team. This was a win the then 5-6 squad needed to turn their season around by getting to .500, but they were playing against a Beaver team that was I 0-3 overall, and although Hazleton came close to spoiling things, they couldn't pull through in the end.
Hazleton was outplayed on almost all fronts, getting out-rebounded 41-37, and allowing the defensive pressure to get to them allowing Beaver to scrounge up 12 steals to go along with 4 blocks and only shooting 47% from the field while allowing their opponents to shoot 53% in comparison.
There were some bright spots for Hazleton as starters Alex Akabogu, Dan Fogarty and Ashkan Naderi were all able to reach double digits in scoring with Fogarty leading the pack with 20 points and Dwayne Vines provided a spark off the bench in his 28 minutes of play scoring 13 points to go with his 13 rebounds.
Akabogu in particular had an allaround solid game putting up 16-9-4 to go along with four steals but his efforts, along with the great play of his teammates, weren't enough to get the team over the hump. Beaver was led by Robert Agurs who hurt his team with his nine turnovers but made up for it by putting up I 9- I 2-6 while Patrick Horton had all four of his team's blocks and he got it done on the offensive end too, scoring I 6 points.
Hazleton didn't play a bad game by any stretch of the imagination, it just may have been a stretch to think they could have beaten a team that Penn State Beaver that has been playing so well all season long. They put up a fight and went down swinging, but there's no doubt they would have wanted the W to have something to show for those efforts.
After such a heartbreaking loss, Hazleton could have -gone into the game against New Kensington with broken spirits to match, not to mention a little drained after playing the night before. Instead they came out looking for blood and looking to make a statement and that's exactly what they did at the expense of the other team.
Led by Vines who again had the hot hand going 12-16 and grabbing 14 boards while he was at it, Hazleton leaped out to a 47-29 lead in the first and didn't look back as they cruised to an 80-59 victory. Fogarty and Colby Major did their part scoring 14 and 15 points respectively and Ricky Gil set up his teammates well dishing out eight dimes while the entire New Kensington team had only seven.
Hazleton found a team that was having a worse season as New Kensington came into the game 0-9, and they took advantage by beating up on them and once again pulling into a game under .500.
Jordan Buchanic who had a double-double with 16 points and 10 rebounds and teammate Daryl Harrington who went 20-7-2 for the afternoon did all they could to keep the score respectable but the deficit became too much and New Kensington went down with barely a whimper.
Ideally Hazleton would have liked to have won both games, but splitting them is much better than the third option. Hazleton can use the momentum from this big win to finish out the season strong, or they can allow the .500 mark to forever remain elusive.