ACC rides eight-game winning streak; gears up for Dodge City

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Sports

December 11, 2019 - 9:56 AM

Malik Hardmon for ACC against Ottawa. REGISTER/ERICK MITCHELL

As the Christmas break approaches, Allen Community College head coach Andy Shaw finds himself in familiar territory. 

A season ago, the Red Devils were 11-3 before Christmas break, and had won seven consecutive games during the strong start. After returning from the holiday season, ACC was unable to discover its early season form, losing eight of its next 10 games. 

Currently the Red Devils ride an eight-game winning streak heading into tonight’s contest against Dodge City Community College. Shaw admits that last season’s post winter break performances are still in the back of his head. 

“I don’t have a crystal ball so I can’t tell you when it’s going to happen, but we are going to hit some adversity,” Shaw said. “What I’ve been preaching is that we have to stay together, through the good times and bad times. We have to hold ourselves accountable and do the right thing on and off the court.”

ACC is coming off a 83-78 win over Colby Community College on Saturday. Trez Hankins finished as ACC’s leading scorer with 25 points on 5/12 from the field, and has provided a major boost to the Red Devil starting five. In fact, the Red Devils are undefeated when Hankins takes to the hardwood. The Red Devils were 3-4 before Hankins returned to the starting lineup, and have won all five games ever since. 

“Trez has been a spark for us on both ends of the court,” Shaw said. “We have been putting him on the other team’s best guard, and he has really been taking pride in defense. Once he got back, we were able to settle into our roles. We have had some close games, but we are fortunate we have ended up on the right end of them. We have been shooting our free throws better, and Trez has been the big spark of that.”

Shaw has continued to shuffle his starting five despite the string of wins. Cementing the starting center role is sophomore transfer Jalen Sasser. 

“I think he is getting a little bit more comfortable in the system,” Shaw said. “He is a transfer kid, and right around semester is when those kids start to figure out how we operate and our system.”

Malik Hardom continues to fire for the Red Devils offensively and on the glass. Hardmon currently averages 16.3 points per game along with 8.9 rebounds per game. Providing the boost off the bench is transfer guard Joel Boyce, averaging 13.5 ppg on 53.1% shooting. 

If the Red Devils plan to keep their winning streak alive, they must continue to protect the basketball. Shaw highlighted that ACC was averaging nearly 20 turnovers per game during its 1-4 start. During the eight-game winning streak, ACC has kept the margin between 10-15 according to Shaw. 

ACC tips off against Dodge City at 8 p.m.

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