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Massive Fourth Quarter Propels O’Hara Past Nichols

With the help of four double digit scorers and a high scoring fourth, the Cardinal O’Hara Hawks downed Nichols 60-51 in Monsignor Martin Athletic Association league play.

Despite a slow start that showed the Hawks not scoring a point until 4 and a half minutes into the first quarter, a Jermaine Haynes three broke that streak and helped keep O’Hara in the game. The Hawks’ sloppy passing and poor shot selection was their biggest problem, as they could not get anything going. Nichols didn’t have too much success scoring either, as an extremely low scoring first quarter ended 12-5.

The scoring woes for both teams continued well into the second, as neither team were able score a single point for two minutes, but then things began to pick up. The two sides began basket trading, and playing a fast paced game. However, the real story of the second quarter had to be O’Hara’s Rene Velazquez. He scored 12 points in the second, keeping his team close almost single handedly. Two Nichols turnovers in the last 25 seconds led to four transition points for the Hawks, as the halftime score showed 24-24. Just how Velazquez had half his team’s points, Aidan Horan had 12 at the break for the Vikings.

A quick 7-0 run for Nichols to start the second half, as Myles Hervey’s strong play in the paint allowed him to draw three fouls in  the first four minutes, and going 3 for 6 at the line. O’Hara had yet another bad quarter, as they were unable to get on the board in the third until there was only 3:10 left on the clock. In that span, Nichols was able to open up a 10 point lead, but yet again, a Hawks player steps up to keep his team alive. This time, it was Jermaine Haynes. Haynes scored all eight of O’Hara’s points in third, including two three pointers, as the scoreboard after quarter three read 36-32 for Nichols.

As if on cue, the Hawks finally began putting points on the board, and in a big way. Nichols started off the quarter by extending their lead to six via a Myles Hervey layup, but then Nasir Benton took over. Benton hit three straight three pointers for the Hawks, which 9 of his 13 total on the night. The Benton threes ignited a 16-1 run to put the game out of the Vikings’ reach. The 28 point fourth for O’Hara nearly equaled their total from their first three quarters, as a Justin Hemphill transition dunk punctuated the victory.

“We came out at halftime down, and we had to start executing our offense,” said Hemphill, who’s emphatic slam gave him 10 points on the night. “We had to start off on a fast pace, and in the fourth quarter we started playing faster than what they thought we could, and then we got the crowd going and finished strong.”

Jermaine Haynes led all scorers with 19 points, followed closely by Rene Velazquez who’s strong second quarter led to him putting up 18.

“We had to be focused on rebounding and getting stops, and taking pride in defense,” said Hawks head coach Tony Pulvirenti. “Things were difficult in the first, but we were able to get out and run and put up 19 in the second. We got to win the game in the first quarter. I’m glad we had a strong second half.”

The Vikings were led by Hervey, who put a strong 17 in the loss, as well as Aidan Horan and Will Johnson, who had 16 and 14 points respectively. Nichols head coach Darren Fenn was straightforward with what he felt went wrong following the contest.

“We didn’t take care of the ball and we didn’t rebound,” said Fenn.

The Hawks victory extends their winning streak to five games, and sits them at 4-1 in MMAA play, and 9-5 overall. Nichols now sits 2-2 in MMAA play and 5-7 overall.

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