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Justin Crawford and D.Q. Billingsley each contributed 17 points Saturday as the Hardaway Hawks boys basketball team used aggressive defense to hold off the Carver Tigers, 56-52, at Carver.
The Hawks came into the season ranked No. 10 in the Atlanta Journal-Constitutions preseason poll for Class AAAA. With the win, the Hawks improved to 2-2, with each game decided by six points or less. Hardaway hung tough with Jordan in the opener, losing 85-79 to the Red Jackets, who appeared in the Final Four last year for Class AA. The Hawks won by two over Columbus on Nov. 20 and lost by two Friday to Kendrick.
We played harder tonight than we did in the first three games, Hardaway head coach Auston Davis said following Saturdays game. I think the kids are starting to learn each other and learn what we want from them on the floor.
Its a morale booster because we played a good, hard game last night and lost by two to Kendrick.
The Hawks have six seniors on the team and four of them are starters. Billingsley scored 10 points to help boost Hardaway to a 27-24 halftime, while Crawford, a sophomore, took over in the second half with 11 of his 17 points.
Hardaway started off hot in the third quarter with a 10-0 run to put the Hawks ahead 37-28. A few minutes later, they held their biggest lead of the night at 41-30. But Carver switched to a full-court press and baskets became harder to come by. The Hawks didnt back down defensively either.
We put a 1-3-1 press on them and they threw the ball away a couple times, Davis said. We were just making them have to beat us.
Offensively, Davis said his strategy was to attack the basket.
We were trying to get into the paint to make them foul us, he said.
I knew it was going to be very physical. I was trying to tell our guys that we could penetrate and get better looks than just shooting threes.
The Tigers continued to chip away at the lead and got within four points with 1:05 remaining in the game, but Billingsley helped seal the win going 3-for-4 from the foul line.
He gave the Hawks a 56-49 lead with 14 seconds left.
Kimian Woods and Dekarius Sturgis each had 12 points to lead the Tigers.