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updated: 2/20/2013 11:54 PM

Harper men, women both win

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By Jonathan Cregier

The largest Harper basketball crowd of the season was treated to a rarity Wednesday as both Hawks programs came away with North Central Community College Conference victories.

The women's team topped Triton 63-43, and the men's team prevailed 88-80 in Palatine.

Two short-handed teams took the floor in the women's game to start the evening.

With Harper trailing in the final minutes of the first half, Rachel Payne (Schaumburg Christian) scored 2 of her 6 points to cap an 8-2 run that saw the Hawks pull themselves even at 16-16 with 1:50 left in the period.

The Trojans defense held Harper post Monica Hinderer to 8 points in the first half.

"When you play a team you think you should beat, you just kind of walk through it," second-year Harper coach Nichole Jones said of her team's first-half effort.

In the second half, the Hawks came alive. Hinderer and Jana Rowland teamed up to help the Hawks take a 26-20 lead. Rowland finished with 10 points.

"We said we needed to push the ball more," Payne said of the tempo shift.

Hinderer benefited most in the second half, accounting for 27 of the Hawks' 45 second-half points.

"I knew I needed to be a leader on the court," Hinderer said.

• With 2 games remaining in the regular season, the Harper men need every win in an effort to win a home game in the regional quarterfinals next week.

Triton had something to play for as well; it could have pulled even with College of DuPage in the conference standings with a win.

The Hawks were up to the task, coming away with an 88-80 win.

"Harper is always tough to beat especially up here," said Triton coach Steve Christiansen.

And Garret Gatz made it especially tough on Triton, finishing with a team-best 30 points.

"We have been expecting to play this way all year," Gatz said.

Michael Rose producced 21 points for the Hawks.

It was close most of the way, with Triton getting within 2 at 62-60 in the second half.

"You knew they were coming back," said Harper coach Tony Amarino. "I thought at times we were a little out of control."

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