by Jefferey Key
Minutes before taking center court, Baltimore Hawks head coach, Greg Brown, delivered a composed, yet spirited message to his team. The objective was simple; the task, though, was venturous. “This is our house,” he exclaimed. “Protect it!”
The Hawks, a week removed from their season opening victory against the York Buccaneer’s, were back home to square off in a testy battle with their in-state rivals, the DMV Warriors. From the tip, it was evident that while both teams shared the same state lines, the two divisional enemies also shared a mutual disdain for one another.
With their exuberant home fan base out in full support, the Hawks, were able to weather DMV's high potent offensive with a litany of sharp shooting efforts of their own. Trailing by ten in the 2nd quarter, the Hawks placed the rock in the hands of their star guard and last season's leading scorer, DiShawn Bradshaw (27 ppg), who connected on four first half three-pointers, bringing the Hawks to within three (62-59) at intermission.
In the second half, Baltimore's aggression continued to intensify as their offense began to catch fire. Led by second year forward, Jarwand Rheubottom, the Hawks scored 39 points in the 3rd quarter on a blistering 57% shooting (12-21 FG) as Baltimore took a commanding ten point advantage (98-88) heading into the final period of play. Rheubottom, the Hawks leading rebounder and assist man last season, registered 11 points in the period on an impressive array of perimeter shots and slashes to the rim. The Hawks were also the beneficiary of a multitude of transition baskets thanks to the run and gun play of Ja'Quan Jones and the newly acquired Eian Davis, whose crisp passing in the open court forced the defenseless Warriors into committing 11 personal fouls in the period; leading to 17 free throw attempts for the Hawks on the other end.
Unfortunately, though, the Hawks were unable to hold on. Despite outrebounding the lengthy Warriors (60-45) and committing only 11 turnovers, Baltimore lost a heartbreaker 135-132, dropping them to 1-1 on the young season. Bradshaw led the team with a game high 33 points (7-13 3PT), followed by Rheubottom who scored 28, and Paris Carter and Elian Davis who added 13 and 12 respectively. The Hawks will look to bounce back tomorrow as they hit the road to take on the Fredericksburg Grizzlies at 4:00 PM.