Hawks win in senior finale

Published 12:00 am Monday, February 19, 2007

MURFREESBORO – You know from that chill you feel that it’s still February and still winter, but Saturday in their home finale the Chowan University Hawks men’s basketball team came out &uot;hotter’n July&uot; and closed out their regular season with an 84-70 win over Newport News Apprentice at the Helms Center in Murfreesboro; and sweeping the season series with the Shipbuilders after taking an 81-72 game in Virginia last month. 

It was also the final game on the home-court for Trayvon Lathan – who leaves CU as the Hawks’ all-time leading scorer with 1,884 points - and fellow-seniors Marcus Artis, and Wayne Hambrick.

&uot;We’ve played ’em (Newport News) all four year’s we’ve been here, me, Tray, and Wayne,&uot; said a delighted Artis afterward. &uot;We’re undefeated, never lost to ’em, so it was a pretty good way to go out.&uot;

‘Pretty good’ was an understatement for the sizzling start the Hawks made in the first half. 

After surrendering a pair of three-pointers, the Hawks went on to outscore the Builders, 18-6. Artis and Lathan connected for the first seven Hawk points, and from a 7-6 score three minutes into the game, the rout was on.

The Hawks’ defense was so suffocating the Builders’ only points after their early start were three free-throws until Terrance Bryant broke the Apprentice drought with a put-back jumper and only five minutes to go in the half. 

Chowan went on to build their largest lead of the game, 25 points at 34-9, and coach Jim Tribbett showed no signs of calling off the barrage, offensively or defensively.

&uot;They were very energized,&uot; said Tribbett. &uot;It was so much fun to watch them play.&uot;  &uot;They pretty much controlled the game,&uot; he grinned, &uot;and I really didn’t have to do much coaching.&uot; 

His counterpart, Bill Tose, however, wasn’t having as much fun: letting his frustration get the best of him with a minute to go in the half and picking up a technical foul on his bench.

Newport News was able to make a minor dent in the rout, getting it down to a 16-point deficit before guard Chris Kenon closed out the half for the Hawks by scoring four free throws and Chowan carried an easy 40-20 lead into the locker-room at halftime thanks largely to great defense and capitalizing on 13 Shipbuilder turnovers.  Adding to that was the hot-shooting of Montino Williams who had 13 points all in the first half.

Chowan opened the second half keeping a comfortable cushion on the visitors, though Apprentice was able to execute their offense better and seemed to re-discover their shooting touch.  They also had help from the Hawks getting into foul trouble. 

Lathan picked up his third foul three minutes into the half, but it didn’t matter on Senior Day as he later thrilled the crowd with a high-flying dunk to push Chowan back to a 19-point lead at 51-32.  Unfortunately, the Chesapeake native fouled out with less than three minutes to go in the game, but finished with 11 points, five rebounds, and a team-high seven assists.  

&uot;It’s been a long, hard career,&uot; he reflected on afterward, fighting back the obvious emotion of what the day meant to him, &uot;but I’m happy and ready to move onto the next phase of my life.&uot;  

Senior Wayne Hambrick, also saved his best for last in the finale, going 3-for-3 in the second half, including scoring twice on a pair of breakaway lay-ups and hitting Chowan’s final basket of the game.  He finished his last home game with seven points. 

&uot;It’s been fun&uot;, he said smiling in the locker-room after the game.  &uot;Hard, tough, blood, sweat and tears, but it’s been fun.&uot; 

Apprentice closed to within ten points with under a minute and a half left in the game, but despite sometimes sloppy play, the Hawks took the win convincingly, 84-70. 

Artis led four players in double-figures with 22 points and was leading rebounder with eight.  Junior Jaleel Nelson finished with 15.  Termaine Totten led Apprentice with 22 points.  Chowan shot almost 55 per cent from the floor for the game; they dished out 19 assists and had ten steals.

&uot;I thought this game was a good example of what our season’s been,&uot; shrugged Tribbett. &uot;We’ve had first halves that’ve been fun to watch, but then can’t quite get it all connected in the second half, but I was trying to play the seniors as much as I can. 

“They get pretty ‘squirrel-y’  on Senior Day,” Tribbett added. “But if we’re gonna make a run as the defending champion in the NCCAA South Region, we’re going to have to put together back-to-back halves like the first half and we’re going to have to do it for two or three days in a row.&uot;

Because of the cancellation of a Monday road game at Belmont Abbey due to a scheduling conflict, the Hawks finish their regular-season at 11-14.  Chowan is off now until they defend their National Christian Colleges Athletic Association South Regional championship beginning on March 5th. 

They will learn their opponent on Monday and in the meantime play several scrimmages in the sixteen days between games. 

&uot;I’ll try to call on 20 years experience,&uot; grinned Tribbett, &uot;to try to get ’em wound up and get ’em hopefully ready to play their best basketball of the year.&uot;


Chowan (84): Marcus Artis - 22, Jaleel Nelson - 15, Montino Williams - 13, Trayvon Lathan - 11, D. Tynes - 7, W. Hambrick - 7, C. Kenon - 7, L. Morrison - 2

Apprentice (70): T. Totten - 22, N. Thompson - 13, F. Spratley - 11, T. Bryant - 11, W. Cherry - 7, A. Winborne - 4, T. Crawford - 2